Woman stabbed husband as he fought with man

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A WOMAN, who stabbed her husband three times as he fought with a man he believed she was having an affair with, has been placed on probation for a year and ordered to perform 240 hours of Community Service.

Thirty-one year old Rowan Jane O'Connell was said to have suffered 10 years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, Stuart.

The mother of four had pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court previously to assaulting her husband by repeatedly stabbing him on the back with a knife to his severe injury on December 13 last year in Deanpark Avenue, Balerno.

Sentence had been deferred until today for background reports and to check on a defence claim that there had been a history of domestic abuse. Mrs O'Connell was a first offender.

Fiscal Depute, John Barclay, told the court on the previous occasion that the couple had been in a relationship for 11 years and married for just over five.

They had four children. On the evening of December 13, the accused went out and came back with alcohol for her husband and a bottle of wine for herself. She drank the bottle and left the family home in Deanpark Avenue about 10 pm. She did not come back.

Mr Barclay said that about three in the morning of the 14th, her husband "began to get suspicious for he had, for some time, been thinking his wife was having an affair with a Mr Vair who lived a short distance away".

The Fiscal added: "We have been unable to establish if she was having an affair or if it was the complainer's imagination".

Mr O'Connell went to Derek Vair's house and knocked on the door. It was opened by Mr Vair. His wife was standing behind the man and her husband noticed she did not have any shoes on. "She was not in a state of undress," said Mr Barclay. "All we know is she had less clothes on than when she left home.

"This fuelled his (Mr O'Connell's) suspicions and an argument broke out which culminated in a fight between the two men which spread from the doorway into the front garden".

Mrs O'Connell got a kitchen knife and went back out to the garden. Her husband was on top of Derek Vair and she stabbed him three times.

Twice in the shoulder blade area and the third to the bottom of his back. The Fiscal said Mr O'Connell was taken to hospital. The wounds were only 0.25 centimetres and 0.5 centimetres deep. Six stitches were inserted in the shoulder wounds, but none in the lower back wound.

Mr Barclay said the accused admitted drinking a bottle of wine and "shorts of an unknown sort". She said she begged the men to stop fighting and got the knife "as a scare tactic" and had no intention of killing anyone. Her husband, she claimed, was a very violent man.

Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie, QC, deferred sentence for background reports and for a check to be made on any reports of domestic violence.

At today's hearing, defence agent, Vicky Good, said the police and Social Work Department confirmed there had been reports of incidents of domestic violence "ranging back 10 years".

The four children were in care and Mrs O'Connell saw them almost every week. Miss Good said her client was a very vulnerable and fearful individual.

The reports indicated there might be an alcohol problem. "She has only a vague recollection of the events" said the solicitor.