“MERCILESS” thugs left a mentally ill Blackbird Leys man for dead after robbing him of £20 cash.

Abdul Adan, 21, and Michael Edwards, 25, attacked schizophrenic Kirk Smith,34, in his Balfour Road home.

Adan hit himwith the butt of an army knife, breaking his nose, before stabbing him four times.

Mr Smith nearly died of his wounds which bared his intestines and caused his lung to collapse.

Yesterday, Adan, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court to eight and a half years in prison.

Edwards, of Hollow Way, Cowley, was given three-and-a-half years.

Sentencing, Judge Patrick Eccles said: “The two of you went to the home of Kirk Smith, a man of 33 with learning difficulties and a psychiatric illness.

“When he declined to hand over any money, you Adan produced a wicked double-bladed knife and without warning stabbed him four times without any feeling or mercy to him.

“You caused injuries that threatened his life – you could have been facing charges of murder.”

Adan pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and robbery after the January attack.

Edwards was convicted of a less serious charge of wounding and also robbery after a trial in August trial.

Judge Eccles said: “You, Edwards, joined in by supporting Adan. Whether you were pushing, punching, or grabbing is irrelevant – you lent support to that terrible attack.”

He added: “The two of you ran from the scene not caring what condition he was in.”

Adan was arrested on January 18 – four days after the stabbing.

During a search of the Cowley home he was then living at, police found the knife and a blood-stained jacket.

The court heard how the pair had been seen on CCTV taking a bus to Balfour Road before the crime at about 6.30pm. After the attack they stole two mobile phones and £20 from Mr Smith.

Mr Smith, who still suffers from pain and anxiety following the assault, told police he did not know why the men had come to his house.

Det Insp Steve Raffield, officer in the case, said: “The motive was never entirely clear.”

But he added: “This was a particularly violent and unprovoked attack on a vulnerable man.

“Kirk suffered life threatening injuries that evening and it has been a long period of rehabilitation for him and his family.”

Peter Du Feu, who defended Adan, and Claire Fraser, who defended Edwards, said their clients had taken up education courses in prison.

Mr Du Feu said: “He is going to take his time to learn and prepare for a crime-free lifestyle.”

When sentencing, Judge Eccles took into account the 237 days Adan had spent in custody along with the 174 Edwards had spent on remand.

Birmingham man Kevin Mwaura, 23, also faced charges of wounding with intent and robbery but was cleared during the trial at Oxford.