Belfast Telegraph

Postman who scalded mum with boiling water before beating her sent to prison

Brutal attack: William Stevenson
Brutal attack: William Stevenson

By John Cassidy

A Royal Mail worker has been jailed for 18 months for throwing a kettle of scalding water at his mother and then beating her with her walking stick.

William Stevenson (34), whose address was given as c/o the Morning Star Hostel in Belfast's Divis Street, pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial last year to causing his mum Anne grievous bodily harm.

He was sentenced yesterday at Belfast Crown Court, which previously heard that on August 13, 2018, the defendant went to a house he shared with his mother after working a shift with Royal Mail.

While there he asked her to waken him around 2.30pm so he could watch a television programme. But the court heard his "vulnerable" mother, who used a walking stick and a rollator aid to get about, went out shopping and returned home at 3.10pm and brought her son up a cup of tea.

Judge Philip Gilpin said that at around 6.10pm the defendant came down to the kitchen, half filled a kettle of water and boiled it.

Minutes later Stevenson threw the kettle of water in the direction of his mum who was standing just feet away, "with scalding water landing on her shoulders, arms and hands".

The judge said that as his mother lay on the floor, Stevenson "used her walking stick to strike her across her back. Throughout this attack you said nothing".

In a statement to police Mrs Stevenson, who was widowed in 2013, said her son was hitting her with her walking stick "as hard as he could" and the attack happened the day before her 69th birthday.

After the attack the defendant then ran up the stairs, retrieved a birthday card, brought it back down and tore it up in front of her, saying: "Here's your birthday card, you b***h."

Stevenson then left the family home, but before going he took the portable house phone "to stop his mother from calling for assistance".

Despite her injuries, the court heard, his mother managed to make her way to a neighbour's house where the alarm was raised.

Stevenson later returned home and was arrested by police.

During a police interview the defendant falsely claimed his mother had struck him first to the back with her walking stick and he "lost it and snapped". Judge Gilpin said medical evidence showed that Mrs Stevenson had suffered "second degree burns and blistering to her shoulders, arms and hands" from the boiling water attack.

Photographs also showed that there was bruising and swelling to her back.

The judge said he had viewed the images taken last November which showed her injuries had "significantly improved".

He told Stevenson: "This was an offence of domestic violence against your mother which took place in her own home where she should have felt safe.

"It was apparently premeditated as she had not done what you had asked her to do," added the judge.

The court also heard Mrs Stevenson spent several days in the Ulster Hospital and then left her Belfast home of 25 years to stay with friends in England for "recuperation".

The Probation Service said Stevenson, who had no previous convictions, now "expressed a high degree of regret" for the attack on his mother.

In a letter to the court, Mrs Stevenson urged Judge Gilpin not to send her son to prison in an effort to rebuild their relationship.

In passing down the sentence, Judge Gilpin told the defendant: "The custody threshold has been passed and having taken into account all the relevant matters, there will be a custodial sentence of three years.

"You will spend one year and six months in custody and the remainder on licence."

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