A MAN who stabbed an elderly Roman Catholic priest 14 times has been jailed for 12 years.
Fr Michael Ingwell caught Asad Abbas trying to steal the keys to his £23,000 BMW car.
Fr Ingwell, 71, suffered two collapsed lungs when he was stabbed with his own letter-opening knife at his house, the Presbytery, on Clarence Street, Halifax, on the evening of November 29 last year.
Abbas, 20, of Harvest Court, Halifax, was convicted of attempted murder by a jury at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.
He had pleaded guilty to burglary at an earlier hearing.
Abbas sat with his head in his hands as the jury foreman read out the unanimous guilty verdict to the court.
When questioned by the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Stephen Gullick, the foreman said the decision had been reached on the grounds of aggression, rather than excessive self-defence.
The judge told Abbas: "This was a vicious and sustained attack against a householder who had confronted you.
"As soon as you entered the property you were aware, by the sound of the television, that somebody was probably in."
The judge told Abbas he could have left the house before Fr Ingwell knew he was there.
But instead - "motivated by an unquenchable desire" to find the car keys - he armed himself with the knife from the study and continued the hunt.
The judge went on: "When Fr Ingwell went into the shower room you attacked him unmercifully with that knife.
It is perhaps remarkable that he has made a complete recovery."
The judge - jailing Abbas for 12 years for attempted murder and two-and-a-half years, to run concurrently, for the burglary - said he had seen no remorse.
Later, Fr Ingwell said he had forgiven Abbas, but he was shattered and exhausted after sitting through the four-day trial.
He added: "I'm shocked, I'm sorry for the poor lad.
"I remember forgiving him on Christmas Day as I was having my dinner and he was sitting in a jail somewhere. Then I thought he's a Muslim, so he doesn't even appreciate Christmas.
"I feel so sorry for him, I really do. It's dreadful.
"The doctors have done very well for me, I'm fine now.
"I feel sorry for him. To think he's going to jail for 12 years at his time of life. He's 20; can you imagine what he should be doing at 20 years old?"