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Woman jailed after stabbing partner in drink-fuelled TV row

By George Jackson

Published 08/07/2016

Catriona Johnston (29), from Dunvale Close, Londonderry, broke down and wept in the dock as she was sentenced
Catriona Johnston (29), from Dunvale Close, Londonderry, broke down and wept in the dock as she was sentenced

A woman who stabbed her boyfriend in the chest with a kitchen knife was jailed yesterday - on her birthday.

Catriona Johnston (29), from Dunvale Close, Londonderry, broke down and wept in the dock as she was sentenced.

Her partner, who was at the hearing, said through a solicitor that Johnston was "a lovely wee girl" and he wanted their relationship to continue.

The victim, who refused to cooperate with the prosecution, added he wanted leniency for his attacker, who drove the knife three centimetres into his chest.

A prosecution barrister told Derry Crown Court that the defendant admitted stabbing the man on February 11 last year while the pair were drinking heavily with another man.

Johnston, who started abusing alcohol and drugs aged 15, argued with her partner after he smashed a television she bought with her first pay cheque 10 years ago.

After she went to the kitchen and got a knife, the victim and the other man tried to disarm her, but the defendant's partner was stabbed in the struggle.

An ambulance was then called to the scene and the man was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital, where he remained for six days after a chest drain was inserted.

When Johnston was interviewed by the police, she told officers she had meant to self-harm, not stab her partner. She added that she had acted in the heat of the moment and was very sorry for her actions.

Defence barrister Seamus McNeill said that an expert who examined the knife and the victim's wound concluded that because of the sharpness of the blade, it would not have taken much force to penetrate the man's body.

However, Judge Gemma Loughran branded the incident an upsetting episode of domestic violence.

"There is no reason to distinguish between violence of a woman towards her male partner, and the violence of a male against his female partner," she told the court.

She added that both the defendant and her partner were trapped in a relationship that benefited neither of them.

Johnston will serve six months of a one-year sentence in prison, and the remainder on supervised licence after release.

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