Belfast Telegraph

Derry domestic violence victim Ann Doherty walks free after knifing ‘demon’ partner

By George Jackson

A woman kicked in the stomach by her “demon” partner has been found not guilty of wounding with intent after stabbing him in the back as he lay in bed.

After the hearing, Ann Marie Doherty (35) urged other people trapped in violent relationships to immediately report abuse to the police.

She previously admitted stabbing “control freak” Martin McShane (41) following a drugs and alcohol-fuelled party in his Dunfield Terrace flat in the Waterside area of Londonderry on June 30 last year.

While Ms Doherty admitted attacking McShane, with whom she has a child, she insisted she acted in self-defence after he assaulted her.

Outside court, Ms Doherty said: “I kept going back to him because of alcohol issues, because he was the father of my son and because when he was good to me I loved him.

“I was wrong and I would urge other people in similar circumstances not to make the mistakes I’ve made.

“He made life for me during our four-year long relationship hell, but I stupidly went back until the time he kicked me in the stomach when I was pregnant with our son.

“That was it for me, that was the wake-up call I needed. At times he was a demon, at times he was loving, but I now realise he was a control freak and he used my addiction to alcohol to control me.

“I didn’t know he already had a domestic violence history before I started living with him.

“I’m just glad that it’s all over now. I’m looking forward to going back to my family and to making a fresh start, especially for my boy.”

The Co Antrim woman wept and rocked back and forth in the dock at Derry Crown Court after the jury forewoman returned the unanimous not guilty verdict on the charge of wounding with intent after just 20 minutes of deliberations.

Judge Philip Babington told the jurors: “I completely agree with your verdict”.

During the five-day trial, the court was told of multiple incidents of abusive behaviour by  McShane during his relationship with Ms Doherty, which was described as toxic.

On one occasion he assaulted her in public, punching and kicking her to the ground and then kicking her four times in the stomach, all while she was pregnant with their child.

The jurors were told during the trial that Ms Doherty used a bread knife with a 4in blade to stab Mr McShane in the back as he lay in bed.

The blade narrowly missed his heart, but it perforated his lung, which caused it to collapse, and he had emergency surgery for his injuries at Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

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