A dad-of-two plunged a hunting knife into a man’s chest during an argument about a drugs debt and left him needing emergency heart surgery.
Cardiff Crown Court heard James O’Driscoll, 20, lunged at his victim with the “Rambo” knife and inflicted life-threatening injuries and permanent scarring.
Judge Eleri Rees said: “He could have easily killed this man.”
The court heard the incident occurred in the Ely area of Cardiff on April 16.
John Warren, prosecuting, said there was a confrontation about debt O’Driscoll said Ryan Talbot owed for drugs.
Prosecutors said the defendant punched Mr Talbot and then produced a Rambo-style hunting knife.
The court heard O’Driscoll lunged at the victim two or three times and then stuck the knife in his chest.
Mr Warren said the victim had to have emergency heart surgery during which surgeons discovered his right ventricle had collapsed and he had a blood clot.
It was thought the surgery had been successful but he had to have a further operation the next day.
In a victim impact statement Mr Talbot said the incident had affected his emotional wellbeing as well as his physical health.
Prosecutors said O’Driscoll had been before the courts for 21 previous offences including assault, driving matters, and robbery.
He was judged by the Probation Service to present a high risk of committing further similar offences.
Referring to the pre-sentence report Judge Rees said: “It appears that, on his own admissions, this is a young man who habitually arms himself.”
Andrew Shanahan, defending, accepted that was true in recent times but was not a longstanding situation.
O’Driscoll, from Caerau Road in Caerau , Cardiff, admitted possessing an offensive weapon and wounding with intent.
He appeared via video link from HM Prison Swansea for the hearing.
Mr Shanahan said his client’s last offence of serious violence was a robbery that happened six years ago when he was 14.
He said O’Driscoll had not been before the crown court before and did not have a history of using weapons.
The defence counsel said: “He is remorseful for what has happened. He would like to have the chance to meet Mr Talbot and personally apologise.”
He suggested his client lacked maturity and told the court he had an “unfortunate” background.
The court heard the defendant struggled in school and “started to mix with the wrong crowd”. Mr Shanahan said: “It is a story the court has heard time and time again.”
He said O’Driscoll has two children who provide motivation for him to change.
Mr Shanahan said: “He knows it is going to be a long sentence.”
Judge Rees noted O’Driscoll was “no stranger to the courts” and said his previous convictions were an aggravating feature of the case.
She said: “This was a life-threatening serious injury which left him with permanent scarring.”
O’Driscoll was sentenced to eight years’ detention.