A MURDER bid knifeman who stabbed a Greenock housing office worker has been given a life sentence.

Peter Cannon, 54, thrust a serrated steak knife into the 45-year-old woman as she sat behind her desk at River Clyde Homes' offices in Clyde Square.

Then as she tried to defend herself he stabbed her in the arm.

Cannon had previously threatened to harm housing officers and claimed he had thoughts of murdering them.

At he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow for sentencing, Judge Graham Buchanan gave Cannon an order for lifelong restriction – the equivalent of a life sentence.

He ordered Cannon to serve at least four years and 10 months and told him: “It is possible you may never be released.”

Judge Buchanan told Cannon he had committed 'an appalling crime'.

He said: "It was a brutal and unpremeditated attack with a knife on a defenceless victim.

"It is only by the greatest good fortune she did not die.”

The court heard that Cannon told other customers not to move, before stabbing the woman twice without warning on September 30 last year — after she simply asked how she could help him.

A 71-year-old have-a-go hero threw a chair at the knife-wielding thug, giving the injured victim a chance to escape into a rear office.

Other members of the public fled into the street.

The knife penetrated the woman's liver and left her scarred for life.

Two psychiatrists found that Cannon was fit to plead but his counsel, John McElroy said: "Mr Cannon is now expressing that at the time of the incident he had an out-of-body experience.”

Mr McElroy asked the court to impose an extended sentence rather than an order for lifelong restrictionan.

Cannon — who had been evicted after abandoning his flat — admitted attempting to murder the woman, repeatedly striking her on the body with a knife to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of her life.

The court heard that a psychiatrist had contacted River Clyde Homes to make them aware of Cannon's previous threats of violence in December 2018.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard QC said: "As he approached her desk the complainer asked how she could help him.

"The accused then produced the knife, lunged at her and stabbed her to the right side of her abdomen.

"She raised her hands to protect herself and sustained a further blow from the knife to her arm.

"The accused continued to make stabbing motions towards her.

"She kicked out at him to try and ward him off.

"She shouted 'Please don't' and 'Please don't kill me' to the accused."

When Cannon left the office he told a passer-by: “Listen, I've been waiting 13 years to do all this and I've been messed about not getting a house and stuff."

He then put his weapon in a nearby bin and announced: "I'm not mentally ill."

Asked by police if he had thoughts of self harm, he replied: "Why hurt myself when I can hurt someone else?"

Cannon, who was in the dock, showed no emotion as he was led away.