A “VERY dangerous” Hereford man who stabbed his girlfriend 17 times with a carving knife has been jailed for at least five years.

Worcester Crown Court Court heard that Marc Gal, who admitted attempted murder, may stay behind bars for much longer if he was still felt to be a threat.

Gal was being sentenced for an attack in April this year that left girlfriend Nikki Homes with devastating injuries.

She visibly shook as the court heard how the knife chipped her skull and also just missed a lung.

Neighbours found Miss Homes on her hands and knees covered in blood outside her flat in Widemarsh Street, Hereford.

Gal, the court heard, had attacked her there in a drink and drug-fuelled fit of jealousy.

Miss Homes needed a four-hour operation to save her life.

Gal, aged 33, from Whitecross Road, Hereford, fled a police manhunt by taking a train to Abergavenny, only to be seized at Hereford Station when he returned the same day.

Andrew Lockhart, prosecuting, told the court that Miss Homes and an “off his head” Gal had argued on a night out and gone separate ways. The following day, he attacked her at the flat, having wrongly assumed she was seeing someone else.

Gal, said Mr Lockhart, had been drinking wine, whisky, and lager and had taken ecstasy pills over the previous 24 hours.

Abigail Nixon, defending, said that Gal was on a “downward spiral” but was genuinely “horrified, shocked, and remorseful” about what he had done.

The couple had a good relationship at first, but it turned destructive because of drink and drugs, said Miss Nixon.

Passing sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath told Gal that he would stay in prison as a threat to public safety until authorities decided otherwise.

That sentence, said Judge McCreath, meant Gal would be behind bars for at least five years.

Gal was told that in particular situations, and a particular frame of mind, affected by drink and by drugs, he was “a very dangerous person indeed.”

Speaking after the case, Miss Homes said she wanted to thank the emergency services, particularly the paramedics who did so much for her at the scene.

“I would also like to thank my family and friends for their support through this time,” she said.

Fast work by a police officer and staff at Hereford railway station caught Gal. While some officers worked at the crime scene itself, others were sent out to the railway station, bus station, and taxi stands to see if anyone matching Gal’s description had been around.

“We had a man on the run, the first places to check are those that would take him out of the city,” said DI Richard Rees, who headed the hunt.

An officer checking the railway station found clothes that Gal had dumped in the toilets.

Station staff then recognized Gal’s description as that of a man who had just got off a train arriving from Abergavenny, and he was arrested.

Gal fled to the station straight after the stabbing and got onto the first train heading out, a service that would have taken him into South Wales.

Detectives believed he then panicked during his escape bid and turned back.