A VIOLENT Greenock knife thug who stabbed a man twice in a row over drugs has been jailed for six years.

Dad-of-six Thomas Steel ,39, was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of assaulting 49-year-old Brian McGhee to the danger of his life.

The attack took place on November 1, last year, at a flat in Lyle Street, Greenock, after the two men had been taking crack cocaine.

Prosecutor Shanti Maguire said that Steel has 28 previous convictions - including one for assault to severe injury with a hammer.

The court heard that the two men argued after Steel demanded payment towards the drug.

When this was not forthcoming he ran at his victim with a knife.

Steel stabbed him twice – once through the ribs, cutting an artery, and the second blow was only two millimetres away from his heart.

The jury heard a 999 call made by Mr McGhee is which he pleaded for help telling the operator: “I'm dying.”

Judge Lady Rae told Steel: “You have been convicted of a serious charge of assault to danger of life.

"You are becoming a violent man and have carried weapons on two separate occasions in the past..”

Steel had originally been charged with attempting to murder Mr McGhee, but the jury convicted him of the reduced charge.

After the verdict Lady Rae told the jury: “Fortunately this was not a murder charge as Mr McGhee received prompt medical attention.”

Defence counsel Jennifer Bain said that up until 2012 Steel only had minor convictions, but she added that when he suffered a brain injury he became more violent.

She said: “This resulted fromr an assault where he was kicked in the head.

"He had to re-learn how to walk and how to talk.

"He said this changed the way he felt and he was told another head injury could kill him.”