From West Midlands Police:

A STUDENT from Northfield who stabbed a classmate in an unprovoked attack has been jailed for seven years today (Friday 1 March).

Valentine Cannings, 22, from Longfield Road, Northfield, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court having pleaded guilty to wounding and possession of an offensive weapon.

His victim, a 17-year-old IT student, suffered a serious stab wound to the abdomen in the attack which happened in October last year.

Valentine Cannings | Image from West Midlands Police
Valentine Cannings | Image from West Midlands Police

Cannings was arrested near to a stream off Leybrook Road, just metres away from Bournville College in Longbridge, where the crime had taken place an hour before.

When interviewed by police, Canning had claimed that his victim had given him “dodgy looks”.

He went on to say that the previous day he had been using the weapon to remove graffiti from his girlfriend’s property but had forgotten he had been carrying it in his pocket when he went to college.

While using the library, he saw the 17-year-old looking at him. A verbal altercation outside the college followed and Cannings reached for the knife.

As horrified students of looked on, Cannings stabbed the teenager.

Crystal clear CCTV images of the attack were played in court. They showed the injured teen double over in agony before collapsing. Cannings is seen running off while college security staff race to help the victim and protect other students.

As he fled the scene, Cannings lashed out with the knife at another brave student who tried to stop him.

Police were alerted to the attack just before 1.30pm on Friday 12 October and immediately launched a major investigation.

The lad was rushed to hospital in a critical condition where doctors battled to save his life.

CCTV captured the incident | From West Midlands Police | Click for larger
CCTV captured the incident | From West Midlands Police | Click for larger

As officers flooded the area – supported by police dogs and the force helicopter – Cannings was tracked along the stream having discarded the knife, baseball cap and gloves. These were later recovered a short distance away.

A search of Cannings house conducted later that day uncovered a large Gurkha style hunting knife in a protective sheath.

Detective Constable Paul Read from Force CID investigated the case. He said: “This was an unprovoked attack on a young lad who miraculously survived his very serious injury.

“I hope that today’s sentence acts as some comfort to the victim, his family and friends as well as sending a very strong message to others that knife crime is not tolerated in the West Midlands.

“If you carry a knife or use a knife to commit a crime, we will find you and you will be brought before the courts.”

Thanks to the efforts of medics, the victim has since made a good recovery having two weeks in hospital – five days of which were spent in intensive care.

News of the jailing comes weeks after the force launched a major anti-knife crime campaign – Knives End Lives – which warned people of the serious consequences of carrying a knife.

Being found in possession of a knife carries a mandatory four year jail sentence.

Knife crime* across the whole of Birmingham continues to fall. In 2011/2012 there were 1,111 offences compared to 1,595 in the previous year.

To report people who carry knives, call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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