BRAVE Chris Green chased and helped capture an illegal immigrant who had repeatedly slashed him with a knife as he protected his pregnant girlfriend.
Mr Green, 25, pursued "dangerous" Namo Salah across Derby city centre, which was busy with shoppers, in a T-shirt soaked in blood from his knife wounds.
He eventually trapped Iraqi Salah in a building in Iron Gate – with the help of his partner Laura Davey, who had joined in the chase.
Salah had barged into Ms Davey as she and Mr Green walked home along Macklin Street at about 2.30pm.
Mr Green thought Salah was going to punch Ms Davey and pushed him away, at which point the 33-year-old launched a vicious attack – repeatedly slashing him with the knife, Derby Crown Court heard. When Mr Green caught up with Salah in the Market Place he was bitten on the elbow.
Salah was in the country illegally and on the run after fleeing a trial for other offences of violence.
Mr Green, of Sinfin, sobbed in court as Salah was jailed.
The victim, who still carries the scars of the attack, said: "It brings it all back, seeing him in the dock.
"I thought he was going to kill me that day. But I thought if I let him get away he'll do it to someone else so I thought 'I'll have to stop him'.
"I just kept running. If I had stopped, I probably would have collapsed."
Judge John Wait said Mr Green was "a very brave man" to be so protective of his partner. He awarded him £250 from public funds. Investigating officer Det Con Steve Fuller called him a hero and said: "Not many people would do what he did."
Prosecutor Vee Monro said that when Mr Green stepped in Salah had pulled a Stanley knife from a trouser pocket.
She said Salah grabbed hold of Mr Green and there was a struggle but then Salah slashed him with the knife "over and over again".
Miss Monro said: "Mr Green was hitting out at Salah – trying to protect himself. He said he was scared for his life."
Salah then ran off down Becket Street, where Mr Green caught up with him and was stabbed again, said Miss Monro.
The court heard that two youngsters then helped Mr Green, lending him a bike to continue the chase.
He next caught up with Salah near the fountain in the Market Place and grabbed hold of him but had to release his grip when Salah bit him on the elbow.
Salah then went into a building in Iron Gate, but could not get through a locked door at the other end of the foyer. Miss Davey held the foyer's outer door shut until the police arrived.
Miss Davey, who is now seven months pregnant and was also in court, said she started to run after Salah as well.
The 27-year-old, of Derby, said: "There was no way I was going to let him get away after I had seen what he had done to Chris."
After Salah was arrested, police found he was on the run from court in Worcester for an assault where he had bitten off part of a man's ear.
Mr Green was taken to hospital where he received treatment for two knife wounds to his chest and one to his ear.
The court was told that since the attack on Thursday, May 12, Mr Green had suffered nightmares, was scared to go into town alone and had moved from his city centre flat.
Mr Green had been doing agency work at Bright Cross Insulation, in Shaftesbury Street, at the time of the attack but lost the job after he took time off to recover.
Salah, of no fixed address, admitted wounding and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.
Judge Wait said after his time in custody he would either be released on licence or be deported.
Nicholas Berry, for Salah, said: "It was an outrageous course of conduct by him but fortunately the injuries were not as serious as they could have been."
Salah had failed to turn up for the second day of a trial in February at Worcester Crown Court for wounding and assault, but was sentenced for those crimes on August 3.
He assaulted a man in Worcestershire in September 2008 and then attacked him again in April 2009, biting a chunk out of his ear.
A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said: "At the time there was no suggestion that Namo Salah was an illegal immigrant."
At Derby, Salah was jailed for 18 months, which will begin after he has served the two-and-a-half year sentence he was given at Worcester.
East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer said Salah should be deported at the end of his sentence. He added: "It's scandalous a large amount of people, who are here illegally and serve prison sentences, are not deported."
He said this either happened through a mistake by the prison system or because lawyers fought for them to stay under European human rights legislation.