Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Drunk woman who tipped kettle over husband is jailed

A mother-of-one who punched her husband in the face before tipping a kettle of boiling water over his head has been jailed for three years.

The victim ended up in a coma in hospital and needed plastic surgery, Belfast Crown Court heard.

A prosecutor said the attack happened after 44-year-old Margaret Joanne Collins had been out with a female friend and returned home to find she had been locked out by her husband, Brian.

He eventually opened the door and a drunken argument broke out between them.

At one stage in the kitchen Collins repeatedly punched her husband about the face before “tipping a kettle of freshly boiled water” over his head, prosecutor Stephen McCourt said.

Mr McCourt said although her friend got her to stop that assault, she punched her husband again in the head later.

The next afternoon an ambulance had to be called and Mr Collins was rushed to hospital, where he lay in a coma for a number of days.

He also received plastic surgery for injuries to his scalp.

His Honour Judge Kinney told Collins, of Hynford Street in Belfast, that her attack last March was serious and sustained, carried out in domestic circumstances against a then vulnerable victim.

Judge Kinney accepted that Collins' marital relationship was volatile, violent and destructive, characterised by chronic drinking and domestic violence.

Reports indicated, said the judge, that Collins was anxious and vulnerable and would require support and supervision.

He added that while she did not pose a general danger to the public, she could represent a possible danger to her husband.

Defence QC Terence McDonald said what occurred had been an escalation of previous incidents.

He said it was a depressingly familiar story of a couple who both had alcohol problems, and when drinking their behaviour became disinhibited, sometimes involving violence.

Mr McDonald said Collins was agreeable when sober, but she had a certain naivety about her married relationship. Reports, added the lawyer, indicated that Collins was not seen as dangerous as far as the public was concerned.

As part of her sentence, Judge Kinney ordered that Collins serve an extended two-year period of supervised licensed parole upon her release from jail.

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