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Husband killer avoids jail after drunkenly waving knife in pub


Convicted killer: Karen Carson

Convicted killer: Karen Carson

Convicted killer: Karen Carson

A convicted murderer who brutally stabbed her soldier husband to death while she was intoxicated has avoided jail after pleading guilty to drunkenly brandishing a knife in a Co Antrim pub.

Karen Elizabeth Carson (51), from Donegall Avenue in south Belfast, was jailed in 2000 for knifing her Royal Irish Regiment husband Joe McDonnell to death in 1997.

She was released on licence in 2009.

Carson used her maiden name on the court charge sheet in connection with the knife incident in Ballymoney's Bush Tavern last year.

Coleraine Magistrates Court heard Carson admitted being disorderly in the bar on June 19 last year and also pleaded guilty to a second offence - possessing a knife in a public place without good reason or lawful authority.

During the Coleraine court appearance she was allowed to sit outside the dock as a prosecutor said CCTV showed a woman waving a knife about at the bar counter and appearing to threaten staff and she also pointed it at a member of the public before she threw a cup of alcohol at the barman.

Police were called and found Carson asleep on a sofa in a nearby property.

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She was "extremely intoxicated" when taken to Coleraine PSNI Station.

When interviewed the next day, she said she couldn't remember what had happened or even being in the bar and claimed her drink must have been 'spiked'.

Police spoke to the barman, who was uninjured, and did not wish to make a complaint.

Defence barrister Michael Smith said the defendant had gone to the bar to meet her cousin.

Mr Smith said Carson had abstained from alcohol since getting out of jail but consumed drink on this occasion.

She later visited her doctor to see if her drink had been spiked. Her lawyer said Carson leaned over and picked up a "little knife used for cutting fruit like lime" from behind the bar and used it to "gesticulate with" - and when she lifted her drink, the barman snatched the knife back.

Then, in a temper, Carson threw a plastic glass at the barman.

Suspending a four months prison term for a year, District Judge Nigel Broderick said the incident would have been of "great concern" to people in the bar especially the member of the public she pointed the knife toward.

The judge said Carson had a "lot to lose" if she re-offended, saying her release licence could be revoked and she would be returned to Maghaberry Prison to serve the rest of her murder sentence

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