Dean Loughran (48), formerly of Cramber Close, Tavistock, but currently living in supported accommodation in Bristol, pleaded guilty to a single count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He changed his plea on what was due to be the first day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court.
He admitted stabbing Peda Gabarron in the neck during an attack in Crediton on March 18 this year.
Judge David Evans adjourned his sentence until Thursday, January 20 and asked the probation service to carry out an assessment of whether Loughran represents a danger to the public.
He released him on bail but warned him that an immediate sentence is inevitable.
Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Loughran has entered his plea on a basis which explains the background to the offence. A report will also be obtained from his key worker.
He said: “He will put his affairs in order to prepare for what he knows will be a period of imprisonment.”
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