Belfast mum stabbed seven times with potato peeler by Facebook 'friend'
A young mother-of-two has told how she feared she would never see her children again after she was the victim of a frenzied stabbing by a man she had met on Facebook days earlier.
Ashlene Shields said she has been scarred for life after she was stabbed seven times with a potato peeler.
Hours earlier Ms Shields had met the man at a bar after he befriended her online claiming he knew members of her family.
But having returned from the pub, he launched a vicious assault on the vulnerable young mother.
Allan Robert Michael Monaghan (38) was last week jailed for two years for the 2012 attack. "He added me on Facebook, saying he knew my cousin," Ms Shields told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It was two days before he stabbed me. He seemed dead-on at the time and I thought if he knew my family he'd be OK.
"I thought he was genuine. We went for a drink just to be friendly and to watch a football match.
"We then went back with other people to the Holylands for a drink. He tried to kiss me and I stopped him but he ripped my top.
"One of his friends jumped up and punched him. He went to get me another top and while he was away I was attacked.
"He stabbed me seven times from behind with a potato peeler.
"It was terrifying. I could be dead. I've two sons, aged seven and 11.
"I might never have seen them again. He should never be out of prison." Despite issuing a public apology in court, Ms Shields said she didn't accept her attacker's apparent remorse. And she urged others to be wary of striking up online friendships.
"He's a rat. Women out there need to know there are dangerous people like him," Ms Shields said. "I'm scarred from the corner of my left cheek to the back of my neck. He could have killed me."
Ms Shields was rushed to hospital where she required stitches for the wounds. Monaghan, who had been restrained after stabbing Ms Shields, was also taken to hospital, where he became aggressive towards staff. His behaviour included spitting blood into people's faces, some of which landed in a person's eye.
Monaghan, from Damascus Street in Belfast, was jailed for two years last Thursday. He will serve another two years on licence. He admitted wounding Ms Shields with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm. He also admitted assaulting police and two further counts of common assault.
He had 147 previous convictions. The judge warned of the dangers of striking up relationships online.
Defence barrister Joe Brolly told the court his client had a "long history" of drug addiction, which he has been addressing by attending several programmes while in custody. This, Mr Brolly said, had given Monaghan a "sense of reality and awareness for what he has done". Passing sentence, Judge Philpott said: "This young lady met you through the internet and it should show the dangers of meeting people through the internet, who you know very little about, because no doubt when people are on the internet they don't volunteer that they have a criminal record.
"The advantage of meeting people face to face is that you are likely to form a judgment on the type of person they are."