A KNIFE thug who tried to kill a wheelchair-bound woman in her own home has been jailed for more than eight years.

Mark Crawford pounced on 62-year-old neighbour Mary Henderson and told her: “You are going to die.”

The 36-year-old struck last July just weeks after he had been freed from jail.

Mary was stabbed four times during the horror attack at her home in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

Crawford yesterday returned to the High Court in Glasgow having earlier pled guilty to attempted murder. Lord Matthews jailed him for eight years and three months.

The judge told shaven-headed Crawford: “This was a vulnerable person who lived alone ... and required the use of a wheelchair.

“You befriended her, but, for some reason, you got it into your head that you should stab her. You almost killed her.

“You have a record involving violence. It appears to me that you are a dangerous individual.”

Crawford will also be monitored for three years on his release.

The thug had been a regular visitor to Mary’s home.

He knifed his victim as she was on a call to her bank. Mary yelled down the phone: “It’s Mark – he’s stabbing me.”

Crawford then fled – but threatened he would return to finish her off.

Prosecutor Chris McKenna told the hearing: “She has a vague recollection using a tea towel to stop the bleeding. She was left in a very distressed state.”

Police were alerted and officers had to force entry to Mary’s home.

She was found blood soaked on her couch with multiple wounds to her neck.

The victim also had a broken bone in her back, two black eyes as well as fractures of the eye socket and nose.

Mary was rushed to hospital as a hunt was sparked to catch her attacker.

Crawford was traced nearby and the knife used in the stabbing was also found.

Mary’s blood was later discovered on his trainer.

Crawford told police he lived near Mary and that he had the blade for his protection.

The hearing was told Mary needed surgery to repair an artery.

She has been left scarred for life.

Tony Graham QC, defending, yesterday said: “Mr Crawford accepts, quite frankly, that he behaved in a despicable way.

“He was ultimately relieved that the victim survived.

“He is appalled at his conduct particularly as the woman was someone he had some sort of friendship with.”

Lord Matthews said the jail term would have been 11 years if Crawford had not pled guilty.