Man repeatedly slashed with box cutter knife in attack over missing tools in Blyth

Stewart Bestford
-Credit: (Image: Northumbria Police)


Two brothers subjected a man to a brutal beating during which he was repeatedly slashed with a box cutter knife by one of them.

The victim had been renting a lock-up unit and Steven Bestford had also been using it to store some items. When the victim decided to move premises and cleared out his stuff, Bestford did the same.

He later contacted the man to say he was missing some tools and the victim said he had them and arranged to meet him to give them to him but he then slept in and missed the meeting.

On November 21 2020, the victim arranged to meet his friend in Blyth, Northumberland, and Steven Bestford and his brother, Stewart Bestford, turned up. Steven punched the man in the face and said "I should knock you out for taking my tools".

Steven Bestford
Steven Bestford -Credit:Northumbria Police

He was told they were in the back of the man's van but Steven threw another punch and both he and Stewart kicked and punched the victim. Stewart then said "You can have this and all" and slashed his arms with a box cutter four or five times.

A dog belonging to one of them then started to bite the man's lower body. He was left with blood gushing from his left wrist and he had six severed tendons which required surgery and physio and left him with permanent scarring. He now has 90% movement back but that will not improve.

Passing sentence at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Robert Spragg said: "It was clearly a terrifying experience. It was unclear if he would make a full recovery.

"He had to have physio for months, it had a massive impact on his mental health and he has become a recluse. He was diagnosed with anxiety and depression."

The court heard he was unable to return to his former employment and when he started working he did so away from home in case he bumped into his attackers. Judge Spragg said: "He can't put into words the fear and distress this caused him."

Stewart, 44, of Epsom Drive, Ashington, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent on the basis he went to the lock-up to help his brother, who became involved in a fight, which he joined in to help his sibling and that he lost control and picked up the box cutter.

Stewart also admitted two offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to punching and slapping a woman, including on Christmas Day 2021.

Stewart, who has been a "model prisoner" since his remand in custody but has previous for violence, was jailed for a total of six years and 10 months.

Steven, 40, of Haven Court, Blyth, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and said he was not aware his brother was using a blade on the victim during the attack. He got nine months suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work.