A drug addict with a violent criminal past jumped an alleged cannabis dealer in his Toothill flat and stabbed him four times, a court heard.

Sheldon Thomas, 39, has been jailed for five years after admitting wounding with intent. The sentence will be begin after a three year spell he is currently serving for selling drugs.

Swindon Crown Court heard Thomas and a friend had been caught on CCTV going to the victim’s flat in Oakham Close on the afternoon of May 10 last year. Their victim was out walking his dog.

The other man, who has not been identified, had a conversation with the victim outside the flats then left.

The victim told police he had been opening the door to his second floor flat when Thomas pushed him. They toppled into the flat despite the man trying to shut the door.

He said his attacker had told him to stay down. He refused and took out a mobile phone. Thomas was accused of threatening “I’ll stab you” before pulling a knife from his bag. He tripped on a suitcase in the flat and fell on his victim, who felt himself being stabbed.

The victim grabbed his assailant around the throat until, panicking, he asked the man to let him go.

Thomas grabbed an umbrella and the victim picked up a lamp before the knifeman left the flat.

CCTV showed Thomas leaving the flats with the umbrella just five minutes after the victim went inside.

The victim was taken to Great Western Hospital where his wounds, including an 8cm stab wound to his leg, were sutured.

The broken knife used to carry out the attack, a mobile phone and “Rastafarian” hat were later recovered from the flats by police. Around half a kilo of cannabis was found split up into wraps in the victim’s flat.

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Sheldon Thomas Picture: Wiltshire Police

Thomas, formerly of Rosebery Street, Broadgreen, but appearing before the court via video link from HMP Ranby, had previously pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He had a long criminal record, including a 10 year sentence imposed in 2008 for causing GBH with intent that related to a robbery involving a claw hammer. He was jailed in January this year for supplying drugs.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client’s account differed from the Crown’s. Thomas had gone to the flat to buy drugs and had grabbed the broken knife after his victim made a reference to his violent reputation and tried to push him away.

Since being sent to prison for dealing drugs, the father-of-two had for the first time in his life started to take advantage of the help he was being offered in jail. He was clean of drugs, had completed a qualification in waste management and was an enhanced prisoner.

Mr Ross said: “He’s appreciated at 39 years of age if he doesn’t change the way he behaves he’ll either end up dead through drug addiction, because that’s been the scourge of his life, or he’ll meet his end another way – at the wrong end of a knife or something like that.”

Jailing Thomas for five years – to be served after to his three year jail sentence for drug dealing – Judge Peter Crabtree said: “The injuries caused were not serious in the context of that offence but you stabbed the victim on four occasions as you flailed out as the struggle took place.”