A MAN who stupidly cleaned a bloodied knife he found on top of his wheelie bin has been jailed after being told his actions may have stopped others being prosecuted.

Brett French bleached the ten inch curved blade which is believed to have been used to stab a man in St John’s Avenue, Colchester, in August last year

Just minutes after police had been called to the stabbing, ambulance crews alerted them that they were treating a man matching the description of the suspected knifeman in Sussex Road, Colchester.

He had suffered injuries to his face after having a mixture of boiling water and sugar hurled at him which was initially feared to have been acid.

French, who lives in the same road, had called the ambulance after the man - who he knew as a fellow drug user - knocked on his door and begged to be let in.

After he had spoken to the emergency services, French went to bed but found the knife in his back garden when he woke up.

In a panic the 33-year-old bleached the knife having heard about the stabbing and suspecting it had been the weapon used.

He then went to his unsuspecting ex-partner’s house and hid the blade, but was overheard talking about it on the phone.

Police then seized it and arrested French.

Three other people have been arrested as part of the investigation but Ipswich Crown Court heard none have been prosecuted partly because French washed any usable DNA away.

French, who has 17 convictions for 32 offences including a raid on Boots last year, had denied assisting an offender but admitted perverting the course of justice ahead of a scheduled trial when it became clear other prosecutions were not forthcoming.

He has been remanded in custody since the incident and Shade Abiodun, mitigating, said he had been training as a prison mentor.

Sentencing him to 18 months in jail, Judge David Pugh said: “In this instance, as a result of your actions in cleaning the knife you suspected had been used in a stabbing you removed potentially vital evidence and the perpetrator of the assault has not been prosecuted.”