Northern Ireland news

Woman who stabbed her husband eight times in bed is jailed

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A WOMAN who stabbed her husband eight times while he slept in their marital bed has been handed a four and a half year prison sentence.

American-born Tamytha Lee Hopkins (49) was told she will spend half her sentence in custody and the remainder on supervised licence on her release from jail.

Howver, Belfast Crown Court heard that at the end of her sentence the mother-of-two may be deported to the US.

Prosecution barrister David Russell said Hopkins had originally faced a charge of attempting to murder her husband Stephen Hopkins.

But he told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that "substantial medical issues were explored'' surrounding the defendant and in February this year she pleaded guilty on re-arraignment to a second charge of wounding her husband with intent to cause him grievous bodily injury.

The charge of attempted murder was "left on the books in the ususal terms''.

Mr Russell said that on November 24, 2017, police received a 999 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.''

After giving Mr Hopkins first aid until an ambulance arrived, police arrested his wife in the bedroom on suspicion of attempted murder.

During a search of the upstairs, police recovered a total of three knives - including 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. He told 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''.

Mr Hopkins said he "shouted at her to wake up and slapped her''.

At the Royal Victoria Hospital, Mr Hopkins was treated for "superficial'' knife wounds to his shoulder, neck and behind his ear.

Defence counsel Gavan Duffy QC said the couple had met in America where Mrs Hopkins had a daughter from a previous relationship but was now estranged from her.

Their son was born in America in 2003 and the couple moved to Northern Ireland in 2009 and there had been no previous domestic incidents in the family home.

Mr Duffy told the court that a number of medical experts who had examined Hopkins said that she had a complex psychological history which had dated back to her childhood.

He said she had expressed remorse for the knife attack, adding: "These actions were totally out of character and an aberration.''

Judge McFarland said that as a result of the attack Mr Hopkins suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

He added that it was difficult to "pinpoint a reason'' as to why the attack had happened in the first place but noted her difficult and complex issues surrounding her mental health.

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