Scarborough man jailed for stabbing his girlfriend in the neck

Mark Pottas has been jailed for 20 years.
Mark Pottas has been jailed for 20 years.

A man has been jailed for 20 years for stabbing his girlfriend in the neck during a ferocious attack at their flat in Scarborough.

Mark Pottas, 32, was given a 15-year prison term with a five-year extension period on licence after a jury heard harrowing evidence of how the attack had left the woman with a gaping wound which could have had catastrophic consequences.

The 26-year-old victim, who was named in court, turned up at Scarborough Hospital “scared and distressed”, said prosecutor Kate Batty.

As well as the deep cut to her neck, she had two cuts to her fingers, a wound running down the length of her forearm and a cut to the back of her hand which suggested she had been fending off blows from a knife. Her face was badly swollen and she had black eyes and a cauliflower ear.

Ms Batty said the woman’s eyes were almost closed due to “massive swelling”. There were signs the woman was in the early stages of pregnancy.

She was transferred to York District Hospital where she underwent surgery. Her neck and hand had to be stitched and her ear drained due to a build-up of clotted blood.

A pathologist said her injuries suggested a “violent and sustained attack involving the use of a knife and multiple forceful blows to the face, most probably punches”.

Pottas was later arrested after police swooped on the flat he shared with the victim in Washbeck Close, Scarborough. He was charged with wounding with intent to cause serious harm.

Pottas denied the allegation, claiming his girlfriend had suffered the injuries before she returned home and suggesting she may have harmed herself.

Barrister Ms Batty said a huge row had erupted in the couple’s flat on the evening of April 8, when neighbours heard shouting and loud banging noises “as if furniture was being thrown around”.

“The next day, the defendant’s girlfriend presented herself at Scarborough Hospital’s A&E,” she added. “She had serious injuries including a large neck wound.”

The pathologist said that due to the depth of the neck wound, it was only “a matter of luck” that the woman didn’t suffer a catastrophic injury. He described as “ridiculous” Pottas’s claims that the woman’s injuries were self-inflicted.

Ms Batty said Pottas rang the hospital asking about the condition of his partner, but when nurses told him they couldn’t disclose that information due to patient confidentiality, he turned aggressive and swore at the ward sister.

Police went to Pottas’s apartment block that night and saw him leaving the flats with a carrier bag and walking up an alleyway.

They searched the area and found blood-stained pillows in a resident’s wheelie bin, which the prosecution claimed Pottas had dumped in a bid to get rid of evidence.

Officers searched the flat and found blood stains, household items smashed up and clothes strewn everywhere.

“There was evidence of an attempt to clear away evidence,” said Ms Batty.

Bedding with “slash marks” had been removed or hidden and a sofa cushion had been put in a washing machine, she added.

Police spotted Pottas near the property about an hour later and tried to apprehend him, but he scaled a 6ft fence and fled through a wooded area. Officers used police dogs to track him down and arrest him. They found two blood-stained pillows and a pizza box nearby.

The court heard that Pottas had bought a pizza and some beer after the attack.

He was taken to a local police station where he allegedly told a custody officer: “She (the complainant) has been on the phone tonight saying she’s sorry and hasn’t told the police anything.”

“He also had (the alleged victim’s) SIM card… which would have prevented her using her own phone,” said Ms Batty.

She said Pottas told police his partner had been out and fell asleep soon after returning home. He claimed it was only the following morning that he became aware of her injuries, although he didn’t ring for an ambulance.

Although the victim did not make a complaint, Pottas was charged and the Crown Prosecution Service relied heavily on circumstantial evidence.

He took to the witness box to protest his innocence during the week-long trial, but the jury found him guilty on Monday.