Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland dad stabbed woman 30 times in front of daughter (3)

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Northern Ireland man who stabbed his ex-partner 30 times in front of their three-year-old daughter has been jailed for the "brutal and sustained" attack.

Stephen David John McFarlane, from Glenville Park,  Newtownabbey, was handed a 15-year sentence for the attack, which left the 28-year-old mother of two with life-changing injuries.

Belfast Crown Court heard that when police arrived at the woman's Carnmoney home after receiving a 999 call from a screaming female, they found her lying in a pool of blood in the living room while the crying toddler told officers "bad Daddy".

The seriously injured woman was rushed via ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she was treated for 30 stab wounds to her head, chest, abdomen, neck and back.

Telling the court "she could easily have died", a Crown prosecutor noted the woman sustained "multiple stab wounds to her cervical region". She also sustained a large wound close to her jugular vein, and was stabbed "at least nine times" in the chest.

As a result of the knife attack she also suffered collapsed lungs, sustained an injury to her spinal cord and required emergency surgery.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC spoke of the physical and psychological impact the attack has had upon the Co Antrim woman, who had to learn to walk again, and who suffers from flashbacks. The Judge said: "There can be no doubt that the consequences for her have been life-changing."

McFarlane - who was deemed to be dangerous by the Probation Board - went on the run for two days after the knife attack on January 13 last year, and became the subject of a police hunt.

He was arrested following a car chase which ended in a cul-de-sac in east Belfast, and whilst he initially claimed he couldn't remember what happened, and told officers "come to me with evidence", he also at one stage said "It must have been me ... If I have done this, then I am a monster."

The mechanic, who at the time of the domestic attack was using steroids, subsequently admitted a litany of offences including attempting to murder his former partner, damaging her property, and stealing petrol and driving dangerously when on the run.

During today's sentencing, the court heard McFarlane has already served a sentence for a previous attack on a former girlfriend. He assaulted and strangled his ex-partner - whom he had a child with - until she lost consciousness after driving a car off an embankment on the M2 in November 2007.

After this attack, the sentencing Judge remarked that McFarlane was a selfish and self-centred man who had displayed no remorse for the attack.

Judge Miller revealed that after last January's violent incident, the Probation Board deemed McFarlane to be dangerous, that he presented a significant risk to the public and that there was a high likelihood of re-offending.

The Judge spoke of the "brutal and sustained nature" of the attack, and said not only was it carried out in front of a young child, but also continued with the woman was "prone and defenceless."

Judge Miller also highlighted McFarlane's conduct when he was on the run, which including stealing number plates from other vehicles in a bid to evade capture as well as driving at speeds of up to 30 mph.

As McFarland was deemed as being dangerous, he was handed an extended custodial sentence of 15 years. He will therefore serve at least seven and a half years in prison before being considered eligible for release by the Paroles Commission. The remainder of his sentence will be spend on licence.

The Co Antrim father of three was also given an extended five years on licence, in a bid to protect the public, and was banned from driving for ten years.

As he was being led from the dock in handcuffs, McFarlane turned to the woman's family in the public gallery and said: "I want to apologise for what I did, but at the end of the day I got stopped from seeing my children, but I am sorry."

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