Woman cut her arms to help stab charge man
A former grammar school girl who slashed herself in the arms and stomach in a bid to mislead police investigating a fatal stabbing in Bangor has been placed on two years' probation.
A court heard that Meabh Breanda Mairead Farrell came from a loving family but her life had been destroyed after she first touched alcohol at the age of 14.
Stephen Davidson (31) was stabbed twice in the chest and found in the living room of his home in the Ballyholme Road area of Bangor on February 10, 2013.
Earlier this month, 42-year old Paul Bustard admitted the manslaughter of Mr Davidson, and he is due to be sentenced next month.
Appearing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court yesterday was Farrell (42), with an address at HMP Hydebank Wood, who at the time of the manslaughter was Paul Bustard's girlfriend.
She was made the subject of a two-year probation order after it emerged she has already spent 538 days in custody since her arrest.
The court heard that in the aftermath of the killing, Farrell caused injuries to her forearms and abdomen in a bid to fool police into believing Mr Davidson had caused the wounds.
She also offered assistance to Bustard, including helping to find him accommodation, which helped him evade arrest in the wake of the fatal knife attack.
The court also heard Farrell described as a chronic alcoholic who, when in a relationship with a man with a criminal disposition, would become "submissive" to an "aggressive" male.
Mr Justice Maguire said: "Was it not for the very substantial period this lady has already served in custody, I would have imposed a custodial sentence, but I have to take into account the reality of the situation".
Defence barrister Frank O'Donoghoe QC said Farrell "had nothing to do with the killing that took place between the two male persons involved", adding it was her actions in the aftermath that brought her to court.
He said Farrell was a former grammar schoolgirl from a loving family, who took her first drink at a school disco at 14 and that thereafter, her life was patterned by regular alcohol consumption.
Making Farrell the subject of a two-year probation order, Mr Justice Maguire urged that steps be put in place to help Farrell's rehabilitation. He added: "She needs help, she needs supervision, she needs to be given direction."