A CONVICTED knifeman who left a Greenock couple fighting for life following a brutal blade attack has been given a fresh two-year prison sentence for a string of attempted armed robberies.

Andrew Mulholland, 28, targeted the USave convenience store on Belville Street and nearby New Best Cellar off-sales shop on East Crawford Street within the space of 15 minutes in desperate bids to feed his drug addiction.

He armed himself with a screwdriver before demanding cash and a mobile phone in the raids that he carried out three months before stabbing victims Finlay McIntyre, 53, and Karen Branwhite, 39.

Greenock Sheriff Court heard how Mulholland first walked in to USave and flashed a red-coloured screwdriver before demanding: "Gimme forty quid."

Prosecutor Ed Sheeran said: "The male shopkeeper replied, 'You're on camera mate', to which the accused replied, 'Alright' before returning the screwdriver to his pocket and leaving the shop."

Mr Sheeran told how Mulholland then walked to the New Best Cellar premises where a staff member was having a mobile phone Facetime chat with a friend.

The fiscal depute said: "Whilst in possession of the screwdriver, the accused stated, 'Gimme the phone'.

"The witness put the phone on the counter and the accused attempted to grab it.

"The witness said that he would phone the police and thereafter chased the accused out of the store."

Mulholland, described in court as a time-served chef who became hooked on street valium, committed the offences at 10.05am and 10.20am on August 17, 2019.

On November 5 that year he and knife attacks co-accused Jamie Middleton, 20, targeted Mr McIntyre and Ms Branwhite at their Belville Street home amid a dispute over £100.

Mr McIntyre sustained multiple stab wounds to his head, chest and stomach and his partner went into cardiac arrest.

Both ended up in intensive care with Mr McIntyre needing emergency surgery.

A High Court judge heard how Mulholland and Middleton were both on bail for knife offences at the time of the crime, which police described as 'horrendous and horrific'.

Mulholland is currently serving a custodial sentence of five years and three months for the attacks and will be subject to two years of strict supervision upon his release in 2025.

His lawyer, David Tod, said of the robbery bids: "The circumstances are that he had recourse to street valium and became addicted to it.

"He accepts that his life spiralled out of control.

"Mr Mulholland is a time-served chef, and when work was no longer available to him time hung heavily in his hands and he started abusing street valium."

Mr Tod added: "The CCTV shows that his demand for money in the shop is not pressed home with any authority.

"He's asked to leave and he leaves.

"He is heartily sorry for his involvement in these offences."

Sheriff Joseph Hughes imposed a 24-month sentence on Mulholland, who will not serve any additional time behind bars because it will effectively be absorbed into his jail term for the knife attacks.