A DRUG user who was said to be taking Xanax “like they were sweets” stabbed his friend after being accused of stealing a television.

Richard Tyrell Smith, 50, was jailed for seven years after admitting to wounding Jason Self and possession of a bladed article in Wilton Avenue Southampton.

After meeting his victim at the same pharmacy while collecting their methadone the pair struck up a friendship and, in the weeks before the incident, Smith, of Hill Lane, Southampton, had been confiding in Mr Self about his problems.

But Mr Self became increasingly concerned about Smith’s actions and said that he was assaulted twice by the defendant. Smith claimed it was Mr Self who had assaulted him.

On February 17 Mr Self phoned the police to say he had been burgled and had his television stolen.

Rob Welling, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court on Friday: “He called police several times during the afternoon becoming increasingly more agitated about what Mr Smith was about to do, telling them Mr Smith had a knife.

“Also saying that Mr Smith had bought 1,500 Xanax tablets and was taking them like sweets and was off his head.”

The court heard that Smith had also said that his flat had been burgled and television stolen. It is not known if either of these are true.

While having a cigarette Mr Self asked Smith if he had taken his television, but the defendant walked off.

Smith returned later with a knife, stabbing Mr Self three or four times causing wounds to the left buttock, lung, the spleen and diaphragm.

In a victim impact statement Mr Self said: “Following the incident I’ve had many sleepless nights. I keep thinking about being stabbed.

“I keep having to double check if Smith is in my flat. I am so hyper vigilant and on edge everyday until I go to bed.”

Mr Self has also lost some feeling in his left arm following the attack and his shoulder remains in pain.

Smith’s barrister, Elizabeth Bussey-Jones, said that from a young age her client was the “subject of domestic neglect” having to steal food from neighbours as his mum was a class A drug addict.

“Turning to drugs himself once his mother died, deteriorating mental health, and it has then featured in his life.”

Ms Bussey-Jones said Smith had had periods of abstinence, but following the attack, while in custody, he “does have a positive attitude”.

She added: “He was relieved to have concluded this case. This does give him a starting point that he can move forward and not move back.”

Smith previously pleaded guilty to wounding Jason Self and possession of a bladed article. Charges of attempted murder and threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place had both been denied, these were accepted by the crown and no trial took place.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Keith Cutler said: “You are man with many previous convictions, on this occasion you clearly lost control, you were volatile, you were angry and you used a weapon.”

Smith must also spend three years on license following his release from prison.