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Ballymena man jailed for stabbing his ex-partner and dog

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David McCorkell (38), of Barra Drive, Ballymena, was found unanimously guilty during his trial last year (stock photo)

David McCorkell (38), of Barra Drive, Ballymena, was found unanimously guilty during his trial last year (stock photo)

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David McCorkell (38), of Barra Drive, Ballymena, was found unanimously guilty during his trial last year (stock photo)

A Co Antrim man has been handed a six-year prison sentence for stabbing his partner and their pet dog during an alcohol-fuelled attack two years ago.

David McCorkell (38), of Barra Drive, Ballymena, was found unanimously guilty during his trial last year.

The jury returned guilty verdicts to offences of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm; possessing an offensive weapon with intent; causing unnecessary suffering to a pet dog, and causing criminal damage to a television and computer controller.

The trial heard that McCorkell and his victim, who have a child together, were in an "on-off-on" relationship on the night of December 11, 2017 when he went to her flat where they consumed a large quantity of alcohol.

Belfast Crown Court was told that during the course of the evening an argument broke out, during which McCorkell assaulted the woman before stabbing her in the abdomen with a pocket knife. The jury heard McCorkell prevented her from seeking immediate medical help for the knife wound, telling her: "You don't need to see a doctor."

It wasn't until the next day, after McCorkell left her flat, that she contacted her mother and was then taken to hospital for medical treatment.

Prosecution barrister Mark Farrell said the wound measured 9cms by 5cms but fortunately for the victim the knife did not penetrate her abdomen, but the injury required three sutures.

During the trial the jury was told that McCorkell also stabbed their pet dog twice after it had barked at him several times during the attack.

Mr Farrell said the dog's injuries were also superficial and it survived the attack.

The prosecution barrister said that among the aggravating factors in the case was that the attack had taken place in a domestic setting and a weapon was used.

"The victim is a person of slight build and she was no match for him," he added.

He asked the court to make McCorkell the subject of a Violent Offences Prevention Order (VOPO).

The Probation Service did not find McCorkell posed a danger to the public in the future but Mr Farrell said the defendant's culpability was "high" over the attack.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson told the court that McCorkell had a history of drug and alcohol addictions and still maintained his innocence despite the jury's verdict, claiming that he tried to take the knife from his former partner on the night in question.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC said that "domestic violence is a significant aggravating feature" in the case.

The attack took place in the victim's flat "behind closed doors, in the privacy of her home where she is entitled to feel safe", he added.

He told McCorkell that anyone who uses a knife "is in the lap of the gods" as to whether serious injury is caused.

Handing McCorkell a six-year determinate sentence, Judge Rafferty told the defendant that he would spend three years in custody and three years on supervised licence after his release from jail.

Judge Rafferty added that in his view the five-year VOPO sought by the prosecution was "overwhelmingly essential", adding: "I am deeply concerned about the interaction by you with future female partners in a domestic relationship."

Belfast Telegraph