Woman who stabbed husband is jailed and may face deportation
A woman who stabbed her husband eight times while he slept in their bed has been sentenced to nearly five years.
American-born Tamytha Lee Hopkins (49) was told yesterday she will spend half her sentence in custody and the remainder on supervised licence on her release from jail.
However, Belfast Crown Court heard that at the end of her sentence the mother-of-two may be deported to the USA.
Prosecution barrister David Russell said Hopkins had originally faced a charge of attempting to murder her husband Stephen Hopkins until "substantial" medical issues were explored, prompting her to plead guilty on rearraignment to the charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily injury.
The charge of attempted murder was "left on the books in the usual terms".
Mr Russell said that on November 24, 2017, police received a 999 call from the couple's 13-year-old son about a report of a stabbing at the family home in Carrickfergus.
"On arrival police noted Mr Hopkins in an upstairs bedroom of the property on top of the accused and was restraining her," said the prosecutor.
"It was obvious to the police that Mr Hopkins had a number of stab wounds to his upper torso and was bleeding heavily."
During a search of the upstairs, police - who had arrested the defendant - recovered a total of three knives, including a six-inch kitchen knife and a sushi knife.
Mr Hopkins told police that it had been a normal day in the family and there was only a minor disagreement about a peppermint oil burner.
At 8pm he took his son up to bed and his wife was in their bed, reading.
Around 10.40pm he went to bed and she went downstairs to read her book.
He told police he fell asleep and was woken when he was being repeatedly stabbed, asking his wife: "Why are you trying to kill me? Why have you got a knife in the bedroom?"
His wife replied: "You brought it here", the court heard.
Mr Hopkins said he "shouted at her to wake up and slapped her".
Mr Hopkins was treated in hospital for "superficial" knife wounds to his shoulder, neck and behind his ear.
Mr Russell said there were a number of aggravating features, including the use of knives, and the presence of their son "who witnessed some of the incident".
Defence counsel Gavan Duffy QC said a number of medical experts who had examined Hopkins said she had a complex psychological history dating back to her childhood.
He said she had expressed remorse for the knife attack, adding her actions were "totally out of character" and that Hopkins was facing possible deportation back to the USA following her sentence,
In response, Judge McFarland - who said Mr Hopkins suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from the attack - passed a four-and-a-half year prison sentence, which had been reduced in part for her early plea.