A 41-year-old woman who slit her ex-partner’s throat with a shard of glass while he slept has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years.
However, Belfast Crown Court Judge Patricia Smyth told Elizabeth Hodgkinson, in her view, the public’s protection would best be served by helping prevent her reoffending.
Normally defendants could expect to serve at least half of any sentence in prison, but Judge Smyth said certain circumstances could justify an increase in the “licensed elements” of any sentence.
Hodgkinson’s was such a case, as it was recognised that, as in the past, she had benefited from, and would again need, professional guidance and supervision upon her release from prison.
In the circumstances she was ordered to serve 12 months in custody, followed by two-and-a-half years on licence for wounding her ex-partner with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.
Earlier Judge Smyth said that psychiatric, probation and other reports indicated a number of difficulties in her life would require long-term medical treatment, and in the present case her capacity at the time to exercise judgment was undermined and that her self-control had also been compromised.
However, the judge later added that Hodgkinson could not escape the fact she had inflicted a serious injury on her former partner while he slept and that it was fortunate the injury he received was not life threatening.
A previous hearing was told Hodgkinson attacked her former partner as he lay sleeping in her then Black Mountain Parade home in Belfast on January 19, 2015.
He woke up to find his throat had been slit, and as he phoned for an ambulance, Hodgkinson could be heard in the background shouting that he was a self-harmer.
The court heard that the relationship between Hodgkinson, whose most recent address was given as Whitehill Drive in Bangor, and her now ex-partner was peppered with incidents of domestic violence and alcohol.
Prosecuting counsel Philip Henry said at the time of the wounding, their relationship had finished.
The prosecutor said that Hodgkinson and the man had been drinking, and that he was asleep when Hodgkinson cut his throat with a shard of glass.
Revealing a history of violence between the couple that was “channelled in both directions”, Mr Henry pointed out the man was “incapable of defending himself”.
Defence barrister Joel Lindsay said his client had experienced a “traumatic past”, and also spoke of a long history of domestic violence between Hodgkinson and her on/off partner, who at the time of the offence was under a non-molestation order to keep away from her.
Revealing his client has “significant drug and alcohol issues which she has battled all her life”, Mr Linsday said Hodgkinson’s life was also blighted by poor mental health and self-harm, including swallowing razor blades and drinking bleach.