A young nurse who was stabbed in the head on her own doorstep has branded the sentence imposed on the ex-heroin addict who attacked her as a slap on the wrist.
Tracy Monteith left court in tears last week after Stephen McCrea was handed a minimum jail term of four and a half years for the brutal attack.
McCrea, who spent his life “sleeping and staggering from one day to the next”, knifed the 24-year-old because she wouldn’t let him in to her party.
He was so high on drink and drugs that he cannot even remember carrying out the attack which left Tracy fighting for her life.
Although now recovered, she has been left angry at the sentence handed to McCrea.
“Last Friday was a really tough and emotional day for me,” she told the Ulster Herald. “Because of this attack, I’ve had to put my life on hold since this happened.
“The whole of last week was one of the toughest that I’ve had.
“I was very upset coming out of the court because it was just a disgrace what he (McCrea) was given.”
The 32-year-old, from Riverview Park in Omagh, was sentenced to at least four-and-a-half years in prison, after which it will be up to the parole board to decide when he is freed. The court heard McCrea has no memory of the attack, which came at the height of his addiction to drink and drugs.
He was said to be “living like a zombie” and was drinking heavily around the time.
Tracy spent several weeks in hospital and, although she’s made a good recovery, still has scarring and suffers anxiety attacks.
She said McCrea’s sentence “was just a slap on the wrist”.
“He got his charge reduced because of drugs and alcohol and that was then used as an excuse for him trying to kill me,” she added. “The reality is that Stephen McCrea has effectively got off with this.”
McCrea’s sentence came 30 minutes after another man convicted of stabbing a former GAA player to death was jailed for a minimum of five years.
Gary Philip Moane, a knife-obsessed alcoholic, killed Ciaran Woods before stabbing a mother-of-two twice and threatening to kill another.
Tracy said the courts must take a firmer stance on such crimes.
“There has to be stricter sentences for knife attacks like this,” she added. “It’s terrible that there were others in court last week for similar attacks to mine and the sentences simply don’t fit the crime.”
Stephen McCrea stabbed Tracy Monteith in an unprovoked attack at her home in August 2010. He was told to go away after turning up to the 24-year-old’s new home near Omagh, where a house-warming party was taking place. However, he returned soon afterwards with a kitchen knife, stabbing her in the head. McCrea was originally accused of attempted murder, however, the charge was reduced to malicious wounding.