Judge puts off sentencing for year in ‘perplexing, worrying’ case
A bizarre knife attack saw a woman with no criminal record stab her sleeping friend in the neck after she had fallen asleep while sitting at a kitchen table in the early hours of the morning.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “It is a bit perplexing. Not only is it perplexing but it is worrying.”
Margaret O’Brien, of 33 Glenamoy Lawn, Mayfield, Cork, was before the court for sentencing yesterday after previously pleading guilty to the charge of assault causing harm to Margaret Kennedy, a middle-aged woman, at another address at Glenamoy Lawn on October 9, 2016.
O’Brien also admitted producing a knife capable of causing serious injury.
The victim, who is in her early 50s, said: “We were sitting down laughing and talking. To this day I don’t know why it happened. I am one of these people that if I am tired I just fall asleep. I was asleep. If I was awake I could have defended myself.”
Alison McCarthy, defending, said the accused had no previous convictions.
“My client accepts how serious it was. It was completely out of character. It was fuelled by alcohol. She has engaged with the Probation Service,” she said.
“The probation report notes the offence is quite bizarre. She has given up alcohol since it occurred. The probation officer says there is a moderate risk of reoffending. I would seek a non-custodial sentence if possible.”
Ms McCarthy said the accused was truly sorry for her actions.
Detective Garda Brian Murphy agreed that the defendant had shown remorse for her actions.
Det Garda Murphy testified that three women were in the kitchen of the house at 3am that morning. One of the women was pregnant and went to the sitting room to rest. The injured party Ms Kennedy was tired and fell asleep while sitting at the kitchen table. She does not know how long she was asleep and felt the pain in the back of her neck.
The defendant later admitted when questioned that she got a knife and began to stab Mrs Kennedy in the neck a number of times, Det Garda Murphy said.
Judge O’Callaghan said he would adjourn sentencing for one year to enable the accused to continue under the Probation Service.
The judge said that taking a weapon to another human being was a serious matter. He expressed the view that he would like the defendant to try to shed more light on why she committed the offence and to use the time with the probation service to explore this.
Ms Kennedy said in her victim impact statement: “I feel ashamed this has happened to me at my age. I feel so ashamed to be associated with a stabbing. I keep thinking I could have died. When I think Margaret picked up a knife and stabbed me in the neck causes me anger and almost rage.
“I cannot think of anything to justify her actions. I cannot forgive her for this at the moment.”
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