'I thought he was going to kill me' - man jailed for 10 years after stabbing girlfriend in chest and arm

He has been jailed for 10 years.
He has been jailed for 10 years.

An attacker who stabbed his girlfriend in the chest just moments after she told him "I love you" has been put behind bars for more than a decade.

John Halligan had lashed out at his long-term partner with his fists when an argument broke out in their home in the early hours of April 2 but she managed to stop the violence by saying she loved him.

Newcastle Crown Court heard while the victim recovered on the floor from the attack, Halligan went to the kitchen and armed himself with the largest knife he could find.

The 52-year-old then plunged the eight-inch blade into his victim's chest, and twice more into her arm while she tried to protect herself.

The weapon penetrated the victim's lung and went close to a major artery.

The victim told police Halligan looked "like the devil" during the attack and was convinced he was going to kill her.

Halligan's victim staggered from the house after the violence and sought help from a neighbour.

The court heard a police officer who saw her in the street said her shirt was so heavily blood stained he could not tell what colour it was.

Halligan was arrested at home, where officers found him sitting drinking a can of lager and told them: "I've hurt the woman I love, I deserve what I get."

Prosecutor Vince Ward told the court that the couple had been together for around nine years and the victim said violence from Halligan had featured in "eight-and-a-half of them".

The couple had had friends over on the night of the attack and both of them were drunk.

Mr Ward said the violence flared after the visitors had left.

He told the court: "He punched her in the face and pulled her hair to begin with.

"Her face was swollen as a result of that.

"That part of the attack stopped when she told him she loved him.

"He said 'that's all I wanted to hear'. He then stopped punching her and went into the kitchen."

Mr Ward said Halligan selected the "biggest of a set of kitchen knives" and used it to stab the victim three times.

He added: "The victim said as he was doing this he looked like the devil. She was convinced he would kill her."

The woman told police after the attack: "I honestly can't believe he did this to me. During the attack I thought he was going to kill me.

"I have put up with many hidings in the past but this has been the last straw."

Halligan, of The Willows, Hedworth Estate, Jarrow, who has a long, but old, criminal record for violence, admitted wounding with intent.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to 10 years and 10 months behind bars.

The judge told Halligan: "She thought, she said, you were going to kill her.

"No major blood vessels were injured but that was undoubtedly pure luck rather than design."

Jane Foley, defending, said the couple had been drinking lager, rum and other spirits for around 11 hours before the attack and that the violence would not have flared at all were it not for the alcohol.

Miss Foley said Halligan is a former sheet metal worker who led an industrious life and has a good, supportive, family but had a history of drinking and using cannabis.

Miss Foley added: "He found it exceptionally difficult to contemplate he could harm this woman in the way he did."