Man knifed his wife in the chest in front of their daughter (12) after Facebook row

Peter McCartney had a history of domestic violence, the court heard.

Peter McCartney

Maghaberry prison (Michael Cooper / PA)

Paul HigginsSunday World

This is the Newry man who tried to kill his estranged wife in front of their daughter.

Newry Crown Court heard that despite the 12-year-old trying to intervene to help her mummy by kicking 40-year-old Peter McCartney, her efforts had little effect and he plunged a large kitchen knife into the chest of his pleading wife before running off.

Prosecuting KC Philip Mateer outlined how the girl ran to a neighbours house to summon help and thankfully the man who came to help was trained in first aid.

“If not for that fact, this would be a murder case,” declared the senior barrister adding that “effectively, he saved the life of the victim.”

McCartney, from Newry but whose address was given as c/o Maghaberry prison, admitted attempting to murder his estranged wife on 7 November 2020.

Opening the facts of the case on Thursday, Mr Mateer described that in the two days before the incident there had been an “acrimonious exchange” of messages where McCartney “conveyed veiled threats” about putting things on Facebook.

On the day of the stabbing, the victim told her ex to “stay away and never to ring her again” and she warned that their four children “were not going to be a part of your muppet show.”

“He responded by saying ‘really, you will see what muppets are made of soon’,” said Mr Mateer, revealing there had been a “history of domestic violence” by the defendant and at the time, he was on bail for assaulting her.

Turning to the specifics of the stabbing, what was a normal Saturday night with the kids in the house and food being delivered turned into an horrific, life threatening event.

The victim happened to be on the phone with her sister when McCartney appeared the living room and she shouted at him to get out.

Her 12-year-old daughter ran into the room and “tried her best to defend her mother by kicking the defendant a number of times but he didn’t seem to react,” said Mr Mateer.

The girl looked on as her father “repeatedly stabbed her mother” and after he left, she ran “screaming hysterically” to a neighbours house shouting at him to “come quickly our mummy has been stabbed.”

The neighbour “found her at the bottom stair, covered in blood” and he tended to her for about 15 minutes until paramedics arrived.

“It’s clear from his intervention that effectively, he saved the life of the victim due to the seriousness of the wounds and the blood loss,” said Mr Mateer, explaining that the chest wounds had caused rib fractures and had perforated her diaphragm and spleen.

“There is no doubt,” he told Judge Gordon Kerr KC, “there was a serious threat to life and without immediate surgical intervention, would have killed her.”

Turning back to McCartney, the senior barrister said there was clearly an element of planning and premeditation to his attack because he was found hiding in the hedge is a neighbouring garden.

The would-be killer had been spotted in the same garden a week beforehand, “scouting out” a small recess where he could secret himself.

Maghaberry prison (Michael Cooper / PA)

There was the additional factor that McCartney had taken a knife from his home and walked the 2.4 miles to the victim’s house.

Arrested and interviewed McCartney refused to answer police questions.

Unlike an offence of murder, attempted murder does not carry and mandatory sentence of life imprisonment but Mr Mateer argued that given the nature of the attack, coupled with the history of domestic violence and an assessment that McCartney is a dangerous offender, the case called for a discretionary life sentence to be imposed.

Defence KC Brendan Kelly conceded that McCartney had committed a “grave and serious offence” but told the judge he wanted to call a consultant psychiatrist to give evidence before sentence was imposed.

Remanding McCartney back into custody, Judge Kerr adjourned the case to 19 February.

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos