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Homeless man slashed across the face

Lee Harper, also known as Chamberlain
Lee Harper, also known as Chamberlain

A man has been locked up indefinitely for slashing a homeless man across the face.

Branded dangerous by a judge, Lee Harper will have to serve three-and-a-half years before the parole board will consider his release.

Victim Karl Barnes suffered a severed artery, needed a transfusion of two pints of blood and was left with a 15cm scar from his left ear to his mouth in the bloody assault in Maidstone.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how Mr Barnes had previously been punched by Harper, 34, also known as Chamberlain, after being accused of smashing his door.

A week later, Harper, of Bligh Way, Strood, saw Mr Barnes outside the YMCA and threatened him: “Next time I see you I am going to drag you down a dark alley and give you a Mars bar.”

Abigail Husbands, prosecuting, said Mr Barnes understood that to mean he would be given a scar.

On May 7 last year, the victim had been sleeping rough when he went to the riverside in Maidstone and sat on a bench.

Shortly after midday, he saw Harper but thought he was safe because others were around.

“The defendant went up to him with a knife in his hand,” said Miss Husbands. “He slashed him in the face from his ear to the bottom of his lip.

“One of the court interpreters sitting outside saw the incident and reported it to a police officer in the building.”

Harpers movements were tracked on CCTV cameras. He was seen to go to B&Q, where he was thought to have stolen the knife.

Harper, who admitted wounding with intent, had a long list of convictions for violence, including one for attacking his girlfriend by biting her head.

Judge Philip Statman told him: “On any view this was a premeditated wounding and the victim has suffered very serious injury with permanent disfigurement.

“I have come to the conclusion this is a case that merits and will receive imprisonment for public protection.”

The judge said he would have imposed a determinate sentence of seven years. Harper will remain on licence for life.

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