I'm too scared to come back home, says woman cleared of stabbing ex-partner in back
A woman acquitted by a jury of stabbing her partner in the back during an early morning domestic incident has revealed that she is too afraid to return to Northern Ireland.
A jury at Belfast Crown Court took less than an hour to reach unanimous 'not guilty' verdicts on two charges faced by Lorraine McBride.
The 47-year-old woman - who has since moved to Scotland as a result of the "unhealthy and toxic" relationship she was in - was cleared of both wounding her ex-parter and of wounding him with intent.
Ms McBride never denied stabbing the man in her Wilton Street home in the Shankill area of Belfast in the early hours of February 1 last year.
However, she always made the case that she acted in self-defence by grabbing an object from a kitchen counter and lashing out with it as she was being attacked for 'disrespecting' the man. Her former partner sustained two knife wounds to his back after claiming Ms McBride launched a drunken assault on him in a row over a bottle of vodka.
During the trial, both Ms McBride and her former partner gave evidence.
The couple had been socialising on the Shankill Road.
Ms McBride went on to a social club after frequenting a local bar, while her former partner sat outside her house in his car waiting for her to come home.
The couple met on the internet and had been dating for around 13 months when the stabbing occurred. Ms McBride said that during the relationship, she was subjected to both physical and verbal abuse.
The jury in the trial heard that Ms McBride's ex-partner changed his version of events and admitted lying to police, and was also issued with a police PIN notice for harassing her.
Police Information Notices (PINs) - also known as 'harassment warnings' - are issued by the police in cases where there are allegations of harassment to make people aware that their behaviour would count as harassment in future legal proceedings.
Ms McBride also said he turned up at her bail address in Glasgow which she sought with the assistance of Woman's Aid.
Visibly relieved at being cleared of the two charges, Ms McBride said: "I've always told the truth about what happened that night and I'm just so happy that the jury believed me.
"I'm just relieved that after nearly two years, this nightmare is finally over."
When asked if she would be moving back to Belfast, Ms McBride said: "I will never come back here, because I will always be looking over my shoulder.
"I'm in a place where I feel secure now."
During the trial, Ms McBride's former partner admitted he bullied her during a relationship she said was "unhealthy".
She said: "Any time I tried to end it he would turn up at my door.
"He hounded me and threatened me until I gave in.
"When we were together, he demanded that I respected him at all times. If I had a difference of opinion it maddened him, especially when he had a drink.
"That's what I did that night. In his head I disrespected him by going out with my friends and not going home with him.
"I'm just so glad that the truth came out in the end."
Ms McBride said that her mental health has been affected as a result of the relationship.
She now suffers panic attacks and has been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder, as well as experiencing flashbacks.
She urged other woman who are subjected to verbal and physical abuse not to suffer in silence.
She said: "Tell your friends, tell the police, tell anybody who will listen. Don't do what I did and try and hold it in and hope it goes away. That doesn't work. Just please tell someone."