A man who suffered life-changing brain injuries after being battered with an iron bar by his mother’s boyfriend is due to be sentenced for stabbing her.
Matthew Jay Hunter (29) is also to learn his fate this week for attacking a man and possessing a kitchen knife during the incidents in June 2019.
He had already pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to charges of common assault, possession of an offensive weapon and maliciously wounding mum Julie Larsen (45).
A previous hearing was told that Hunter stabbed her with a kitchen knife and threatened to kill her.
Prosecutors claimed Hunter knifed Julie Larsen in the back weeks before telling a social worker that he planned to “take her out”.
He allegedly said: “I’m the way I am because of her.”
Ms Larsen was previously convicted over her role in cleaning up after her thug boyfriend Ryan Taylor mercilessly battered Matthew six years ago.
At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, Hunter’s barrister explained the difficulties he now lives with after he was the victim of an attack in December 2015.
The lawyer said the 29-year-old needs round-the-clock assistance from a care worker of the Cedar Foundation due the nature of the injuries he suffered.
Judge Stephen Fowler QC described it as an “exceptional case” given the nature of Hunter’s disabilities.
Hunter’s barrister said his client “remembers very little” of the attack and still has issues with memory.
The lawyer said Hunter was “very lucky to be here” and spent a total of six months in hospital, including a stay at a brain injury unit.
“He will never recover to be the person he was. He requires assistance to perform the most straightforward of day to day tasks,” said the barrister.
He added that a prison sentence would undo much of the progress Hunter had made in recovering from the attack and “may put him back to where he started”.
Adjourning the sentencing until Wednesday, Belfast Recorder Judge Fowler said he wanted time to consider the submissions made on Hunter’s behalf.
“It is a somewhat exceptional case to come before the courts. It is not often there is a defendant with such difficulties,” he told the hearing.
Hunter, of Finaghy Road South in Belfast, is currently free on Crown Court bail.
In 2018, Ms Larsen’s ex-partner Ryan Edward Taylor was jailed for 15 years for battering Hunter, who at the time went by his mother’s surname Larsen. Ms Larsen admitted perverting the course of justice by cleaning up after the attack.
She received a 12-month suspended prison sentence.
It was also alleged that she knew her son was going to be attacked by Taylor and said “he deserved it”.
Taylor, then aged 29, rained down up to 20 blows on Hunter with an iron bar as he slept in bed at his mother’s flat in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast.
The first strike caused his ear to “explode”, rendering him unconscious, as east Belfast man Taylor continued to beat him.
Hunter’s pregnant girlfriend also sustained injuries as she tried to shield him from Taylor’s frenzied assault.
Taylor threatened to kill the woman if she spoke to the police about the attack.
During his sentencing hearing at Belfast Crown Court, a prosecution barrister explained how Taylor and Ms Larsen went to her home in the early hours, only to find the front door locked.
It was opened by Hunter’s girlfriend, but Taylor then grabbed the iron drop bar used to secure the door and rushed to the bedroom.
After the attack, Ms Larsen attempted to clean the scene by washing the bed sheets. Her barrister told the hearing she was “genuinely remorseful”.
He said on the night of the “horrendous” attack she was “effectively out of her mind with drugs” but since then she had turned her life around and was now drug-free and working to help others tackle their addictions.