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Craig Binnie faces 15 years in jail for stab frenzy

By John Cassidy

Published 11/11/2015

Knife attacks: Craig Binnie
Knife attacks: Craig Binnie

A man who blamed cannabis and alcohol withdrawal for a frenzied knife attack on family and friends could face up to 15 years in jail when he is sentenced next week.

Belfast Crown Court heard yesterday that Craig Binnie (43) was assessed as posing a "high risk of re-offending" because of his severe mental health problems.

Binnie, from Tynan Drive in Newtownabbey, had pleaded guilty in June this year to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to his five victims - one an elderly neighbour.

He entered guilty pleas the day after his trial had started for attempting to murder his former partner, her mother and a neighbour, as well as stabbing two other people 23 months ago.

After he pleaded guilty to wounding and wounding with intent, the prosecution withdrew the attempted murder charges.

The court heard that Binnie had armed himself with two kitchen knives after he and his partner Angela Bell visited her mum Nancy McDowell on the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey on December 30, 2013.

He attacked Ms Bell and then struck out at Lisa Donaghy when she went to approach Binnie.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC was told that Ms Donaghy fled while Binnie continued to attack Ms Bell "as she lay prone on the floor".

Her mother, Mrs McDowell, tried to intervene, but fell. He then attacked Mrs McDowell.

Ms Bell escaped and raised the alarm. Mrs McDowell also managed to escape and contacted her 80-year-old next-door neighbour Samuel Gaynor, who Binnie also attacked. Mr Gaynor escaped with multiple wounds.

Angela Bell's brother, Robert, was also stabbed by Binnie, who later resisted attempts by paramedics to render him first aid.

The prosecution lawyer said Binnie, who is now back in Maghaberry prison after being treated in a secure unit, had five previous convictions for assault.

Judge Kerr QC said he needed time to consider the evidence before passing sentence next week. Binnie was remanded in custody.

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