Man who stabbed his grandmother while 'off his head on drink and drugs' is sent to jail

Laganside Court in Belfast

A 29-year old man was jailed for at least 14 months yesterday for stabbing his grandmother in the chest with a kitchen knife while "off his head on drink and drugs."

William Cuthbert, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, was sentenced to 24 months after he admitted wounding his grandmother in their east Belfast home.

After he serves half the sentence, 14 months, it will be up to parole commissioners to determine whether he is safe enough to be released.

He will also serve an additional two years on licence after being deemed as dangerous.

Belfast Crown Court heard that during the attack, the elderly victim, who had been sleeping before the attack, sustained a laceration to her lung, as well as a defensive wound to her arm, as a result of the stabbing.

Despite attending hospital and allowing police to access her medical records, the injured pensioner did not make a complaint.

Prosecution barrister Kate McKay said police were called to Trillick Court on June 22 last year.

Ms McKay said the caller - a granddaughter of the woman - told police her granny had been sleeping in the living room when she sustained a stab wound to her chest.

Ms McKay said that prior to the stabbing, police had seen Cuthbert in the street and were concerned for his well-being as he seemed to be under the influence or drink and/or drugs and had brought him back to the home he shared with his grandparents.

Telling the court Cuthbert had a relevant criminal record, Mr McKay said: "There seems to be no motive, there was no bad feeling between him and his grandmother. The trigger is whatever he was under the influence of."

Defence barrister Denis Boyd said his client's attack was "not a pre-planned or well thought out attack. "He was simply off his head on drink and drugs and doesn't know what he was doing. He couldn't remember anything, in fact."

He said Cuthbert was "absolutely devastated" by what he did - especially as he was brought up by his grandparents after suffering "appalling abuse as a child".

This abuse, Mr Boyd said, resulted in Cuthbert being diagnosed with a range of mental health issues.

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