A HAMPSHIRE man is lucky be alive after a savage knife attack by his neighbour.

Whitney Palmer was the victim of the attack by friend Peter Smith outside their homes in Woolston, Southampton,

The 62-year-old could have died after he was repeatedly stabbed by convicted rapist Smith when he turned up on his porch late at night.

Smith, of Radstock Road, is today beginning a 12 year jail sentence after a court heard how he lunged at the victim on his doorstep when he opened his front door, narrowly missing major arteries as he stabbed him twice.

Winchester Crown Court was told the exact motive was unclear but that Smith seemed to have developed a grudge for the victim over money.

The court heard the 53-year-old, who was found guilty of the attack at a previous hearing, was under the influence of alcohol at the time, but did not appear drunk to police officers when he was arrested.

Judge Jane Miller QC said the attack was launched “without any precipitating cause” and that the victim had been “amazingly lucky” to survive the assault.

“It is quite clear the effect the attack has had upon him. He could so easily have died,” she said.

Prosecuting Dawn Hyland referred to Smith’s previous conviction of rape for which he has served four years in prison.

In a statement Mr Palmer said he had suffered nerve damage in his leg and as a result of the knife attack at around 10pm on March 5, and now found it difficult to move around.

He added: “I have not slept well since the assault and experience feelings of dread on a daily basis,” he said.

“I still can’t comprehend what happened to me really. I could easily be dead now.”

He added that Smith was, “a very unpredictable and dangerous person”.

Mitigating, Jamie Swain admitted that Smith had caused “nasty injuries”, but that he would “not want to hurt anyone in that way ever again”.

He added that Smith, a joiner, had been friendly to other neighbours, even offering to build items for them and buying them things.

Smith remained expressionless when he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, hearing that he would serve at least nine years behind bars before being considered for parole.