An ambulance driver who stabbed his estranged wife’s new partner has been given a suspended sentence and banned for going to the village where she lives.

Former Royal Navy submariner Graham Mathieson spent two weeks stalking his ex-partner Christine before turning up at the end of the drive armed with a knife at 8 pm at night.

He took a photo of the house which he sent to her phone leaving her shaking in fear. Her new partner Mark Vinall went out to ask him to leave.

Mathieson was drunk and lurched at him with the knife, stabbing him in a backhand swipe just above one eye and then causing a second four in wound to his arm as he fended off the next blow.

He told Mr Vinall ‘I’m going to cut you up. You think you are a big man but you’re not. I’m going to do you with this knife and I’ll have her after I’ve had you’.

Mr Vinall managed to overpower Mathieson and shouted for help from neighbours, one of whom came out of her home and took away the knife. They heard him say he had been stalking his estranged wife since finding out where she was living two weeks earlier.

Mathieson, aged 64, of Springfield Road, Plymouth, admitted wounding and was jailed for 18 months, suspended for two years, sent on a Building Better Relationships course, put on an alcohol abstinence tag for 120 days and ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work by Recorder Mr Kevin de Haan, KC, at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “These were extremely serious offences. You are 64 years of age and someone who has given considerable public service over many years in the armed forces and with the ambulance service.

“Going out armed with a knife is extremely serious and using it to cause injury would normally result in immediate imprisonment. This was an extremely shocking incident for your ex-wife and her current partner, but having said that I also have to look at the positive side of your life.”

The judge imposed a restraining order banning Mathieson from contacting the victims, other than through lawyers in connection with the divorce, or going to Sparkwell, near Ivybridge. 

Miss Judith Constable, prosecuting, said Mathieson and his wife Christine had known each other for 28 year and been married since 2005 but split up in 2017. On November 13 last year he texted her to say he knew where she and Mr Vinall were living.

He sent another message at 8 pm the following evening with an image of the house which made it clear he was at the end of their 20-yard drive. Mr Vinall went out to ask him what he was doing and Mathieson called him a coward before producing the knife and launching the attack.

Mr Vinall’s needed 12 stitches in a wound in his arm and feared he had lost the sight of one eye when he was stabbed in the face. In fact, the 1,5 cm cut was just above the eye and he had been blinded temporarily by his own blood.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Mathieson had never been in trouble before and has lost his home, marriage and job as a result of his actions, leaving him with nothing.

He served for 30 years as a submariner in the Royal Navy before becoming an ambulance driver and technician. References from friend and those who know him all describe his behaviour that night as aberrant and out of character.

He spent time in prison on remand after his arrest and has now come to terms with the ending of his marriage. He is deeply remorseful about what he did.