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Belfast woman who stabbed man after he finished with her by text is freed

By Michael Donnelly

A Belfast woman who stabbed her ex-partner after he ended their 'illicit' affair by text was freed on three years probation on Tuesday.

Judge Patricia Smyth said the defendant, Joanne McMaster, would need this period of time to undertake an extensive probation led programme to deal with her drug and alcohol addictions, her underlying vulnerability and her emotional problems.

The Crown Court judge also told the 37-year-old from Abetta Parade, that, while a prison term was "richly deserved", the "protection of the public is always at the forefront of the court's mind".

It was for this "primary reason rather than your benefit", the judge said she was prepared to impose the probation term.

Judge Smyth stated that McMaster's was a "unique" case, arising from her inability to manage her extensive emotional problems for which the probation service could provide a therapeutic package to help resolve them.

McMaster had been having an 'illicit' relationship with a married man, which she thought would be made public following the death of his sick wife. He "had other ideas", texting her to say the affair was over.

Although in a "highly intoxicated state", McMaster went to his home on April 25 last year, armed with a knife and stabbed him.

The attack may have gone unreported, only for police later finding McMaster in a nearby street with her forehead, face and arm splattered with blood.

She was trying to damage tyres to a van, and, in her heavily intoxicated state, admitted stabbing her ex. She told police: "I went round to his house and cut him with a knife."

The man later indicated that he did not want her prosecuted.

Defence barrister Terry McDonald, QC, said that, when McMaster's ex-partner ended their relationship, she underwent "intense feelings of love and betrayal", and "responded emotionally" while "disinhibited by alcohol and drugs."

Mr McDonald also said McMaster "requires intensive treatment ... to ensure an episode like this does not happen again."

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