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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 13:53 GMT
Man jailed for attack on Street star
John Savident
John Savident is best known as butcher Fred Elliot
A man who stabbed Coronation Street star John Savident in the neck after meeting him in a gay bar has been jailed for seven years.

Michael Smith, 30, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, was jailed in September, but reporting restrictions were only lifted on Tuesday after he was found guilty of an unrelated robbery.

Mr Savident stars as butcher Fred Elliot in the soap.

Smith attacked Mr Savident in the early hours of 1 December 2000.

Mr Savident met Smith in Manchester's Gay Village after making a personal appearance on the evening of 30 November, and invited him home to talk about the theatre.

Michael Smith claimed he acted in self-defence
Manchester Crown Court heard how the pair continued chatting into the early hours before Smith attacked Mr Savident in his bedroom.

But Smith claimed that "discussions about the theatre" was a euphemism for sex.

He said he had attacked Mr Savident in self-defence after he made advances towards him.

He said to me something like, 'I bet you have never met a schizo before', which was really quite frightening

John Savident

Mr Savident told the court that when he went into his bedroom to plug his mobile phone in to charge, he was shoved face down into his bed at knifepoint.

"I was totally surprised," Mr Savident said.

"I suddenly felt somebody come up behind me and whizz me round so I was face down on the bed and then I felt a prick on my throat."

The actor added: "He said to me something like, 'I bet you have never met a schizo before', which was really quite frightening."

Smith demanded valuables and the keys to Mr Savident's classic Morgan sports car.

Locked out

Mr Savident's neck was pierced twice in a struggle.

One of the wounds missed the main artery in Mr Savident's neck by less than an inch and sliced straight through a minor blood vessel.

When Smith went to Mr Savident's garage, he locked his attacker out and called the emergency services.

The actor passed out shortly after letting police into his home.

Smith was charged with wounding Mr Savident with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm and robbing him of his wallet, credit cards, a silver money clip and cash, a Jorge Jensen watch and ring, keys and an invitation to Coronation Street's 40th birthday party.

'Callous robbery'

He was found guilty after a week-long trial.

Jailing Smith for seven years for the attack, Judge Harold Singer said Mr Savident could have bled to death had the knife severed a major blood vessel.

He said: "This therefore was a nasty, callous infliction of injury and a nasty, callous robbery by the defendant on a man who, though large in build, is manifestly starting to lose his middle age into older age."

On Tuesday, Judge Gerard Humphries told Smith he could expect a "long term of custody" after a jury at the same court took just 30 minutes to convict him of robbery, theft and false imprisonment for an unrelated incident.


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See also:

10 Dec 02 | England
28 Feb 01 | UK
13 Dec 00 | Entertainment
01 Dec 00 | Entertainment
01 Dec 00 | Entertainment
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