A 29-year-old Northern Ireland man was jailed on Tuesday for stabbing his grandmother in the chest with a kitchen knife whilst "off his head on drink and drugs."
William Cuthbert, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, was handed a 28-month sentence after he admitted wounding his grandmother in their east Belfast home. He will serve an additional two years on licence after being deemed as dangerous.
Belfast Crown Court heard that during the attack, the elderly victim - who was sleeping when she was attacked - said "Please Willy, don't hurt me." She sustained a laceration to her lung, as well as a defensive wound to her arm, as a result of the stabbing.
Despite attending hospital and allowing police to access her medical records, the injured pensioner did not make a complaint against her grandson, and did not co-operate for a Victim Impact Report.
Outlining the Crown case, prosecution barrister Kate McKay said police were called to Trillick Court on June 22 last year following a report that a woman had been stabbed in the chest.
Ms McKay said the caller - a granddaughter of the woman stabbed - told police her granny had been sleeping in the living room when she sustained a stab wound to her chest. The caller also said her grandfather "came into the living room and saw the defendant standing over his grandmother with a steak knife in his hand, with blood dripping from it."
The grandfather recognised the knife came from his kitchen, and an ambulance was called. The elderly victim was treated for a puncture wound to her left breast which lacerated her lung, and also a defensive wound to her arm.
The court heard that during Cuthbert's arrest, the PSNI's Armed Support Unit was called in to assist.
Ms McKay said that prior to the stabbing, police had seen Cuthbert in the street, were concerned for his well-being as he seemed to be under the influence or drink and/or drugs and had brought him back to the home he shared with his grandparents.
During police interviews, Cuthbert gave a 'no comment' response. He was also deemed to be dangerous, and to pose a significant risk of reoffending, by the Probation Board.
Telling the court Cuthbert had a relevant criminal record, Mr McKay said: "There seems to be no motive, there was no bad feeling between him and his grandmother. The trigger is whatever he was under the influence of."
Defence barrister Denis Boyd said his client's attack on his grandmother was "not a pre-planned or well thought out attack ... it was something that was committed under the influence of drink and drugs. He was simply off his head on drink and drugs and doesn't know what he was doing. He couldn't remember anything, in fact."
Mr Boyd said Cuthbert was "absolutely devastated" by what he did - especially as he was brought up by his grandparents after suffered "appalling abuse as a child". This abuse, Mr Boyd said, resulted in Cuthbert being diagnosed with a range of mental health issues.
Saying his client had expressed genuine remorse, the defence barrister also revealed that whilst in remand Cuthbert has been attending programmes to tackle his addiction issues.
Judge McFarland handed Cuthbert a 28-month sentence, and as he been deemed dangerous he will not automatically be released on licence after serving 14 months, as it will be up to the Paroles Commission whether or not he is deemed eligible for release after serving half of his sentence.
Once Cuthbert has completed both the custody and licence element of his 28-month sentence, he will spend an additional two years on licence.