Pensioner stabbed and punched wife of five decades during ‘five minutes of madness’

He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.

A disabled pensioner who stabbed his wife of almost five decades during “five minutes of madness” has been put behind bars.

Former civil servant Malcolm Middlemiss plunged a kitchen knife into wife Patricia, threw punches at her, and started to strangle her during an explosion of violence at their home.

Newcastle Crown Court heared the terrified victim, who told police she had never been afraid of her husband before, said she feared she would die at the hands of the 71-year-old.

She said his eyes were “vacant” during the terrifying attack.

Middlemiss, of Cochrane Park, Newcastle, who is now wheelchair bound, admitted unlawful wounding.

The court heard the retired grandfather, who had never been in trouble before, had been released from a long hospital stay just hours before the attack in April and had a chronic pain condition.

Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced him to two years behind bars and made a restraining order banning any further contact with his wife.

The judge said: “This is an immensely sad case.

“Until the incident in April you had never been violent towards her. She describes your life and marriage together up to this point as a happy one.

“She thought she was going to die.

“She said ‘this was a different man in front of me, not the one I knew’.

“Those five minutes of madness, after 48 happy years of marriage, has caused dramatic and lasting consequences.

“Something in you snapped.”

The victim’s stab wound, which was just below her right breast, was repaired at hospital.

She also had grazes to her face, arms and legs.

The court heard the entire family have been left stunned and traumatised by what happened between the usually happy couple.

Mrs Middlemiss told police in a statement: “I can say, without doubt, that this has completely turned my life upside down and destroyed our lives.

“Everything that was normal has been turned upside down.”

The court heard Middlemiss, who had a history of hip problems, had been admitted to hospital after a fall in February.

During his hospital stay, his wife noticed he had become aggressive and rude to nursing staff, which was “out of character”.

On the day of his hospital discharge Middlemiss, who had turned to vodka to help cope with pain and depression, started drinking after dinner .

The court heard “without warning” he started strangling his wife until she struggled to breathe.

When she ran to the kitchen to call 999, Middlemiss followed and picked up a small knife, which she managed to get off him.

He then picked up a larger knife, which he used to cause the one inch wide puncture wound.

He then continued to attack using his fists and threw a vase, causing cuts to her shin.

Peter Schofield, defending, said Middlemiss, who is “entirely ashamed” is awaiting a further hip operation.

Mr Schofield added; “The defendant expresses, through me, his genuine remorse for what took place in respect of this incident.”

Mr Schofield said Middlemiss will struggle in the “alien environment” of prison and is unlikely to offend again.