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THE sister of a Westwood Academy pupil who was stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife outside a newsagents has welcomed his attacker's 11 and a half year prison sentence.
Kay Smith - who cradled her teenage brother Declan Thomas as he lay bleeding following the attack last October - said the sentence given to Phillip O'Sullivan, from Coundon Road, will give Declan the chance to put a nightmare few months behind him.
"Declan's made a good recovery. He's back at school part-time and has started playing football again. We're all hoping he can put the events of October 3 last year well behind him," Kay said.
"This lengthy prison sentence will give my brother a chance to return to normality and hopefully restore Declan's confidence to move forward and be the positive young man he was before.
"The family wish to thank the support we've received from the Spon End community, and the expert medical care of the ambulance crew and hospital staff in Coventry and Nottingham who helped save my brother's life."
O'Sullivan was drunk when he attacked 14-year-old Declan Thomas on October 3 last year with a knife he had stolen earlier in the day.
The pair had clashed in Lifestyle Express Store in Upper Spon Street minutes earlier with O'Sullivan accusing the lad and his girlfriend of staring at him.
And when the Westwood Academy pupil left the shop O'Sullivan ran up behind him and thrust the blade into his neck, rupturing his jugular vein.
During the trial earlier this year Birmingham Crown Court heard how Declan would most likely have died had it not been for the swift actions of a passer-by who intervened to tackle O'Sullivan and use his T-shirt as a makeshift tourniquet to stem the blood loss.
Since beginning his recovery from the attack Declan has spoken to the West Midlands Police officers behind an innovative Guns & Knives Take Lives project and is looking at joining the initiative to highlight the dangers of carrying knives.
Kay added: "My brother wants to share his experiences with other teenagers and help stress the dangers of carrying a knife.
"There can be a misguided view that carrying a knife offers people protection but often people end up getting injured or stabbed with the very knife they're carrying.
"He hopes taking part in the project will help stop other families going through the heart ache we've endured."
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