Woman avoids jail for stabbing stepfather

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Warwickshire Crown Court

A YOUNG woman who slammed a knife into her stepfather’s back while he was involved in a heated argument with her mother has escaped being jailed.

A judge heard that Jodie Clinton’s victim did not make a formal complaint, saying he did not want her to be in trouble, and refused to allow his medical records to be released.

So, rather than being charged with wounding, she was charged only with assaulting him, causing actual bodily harm, to which she pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court.

Clinton, 23, of Beechcroft, High Street, Henley-inArden, was given a 12-month community order, with a 25-day rehabilitation activity, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said Clinton’s mother Karen and her stepfather Gavin McFarlane had separated, but both continued living at the family home.

In October last year Clinton and her mother went out for the evening, and when Clinton returned at around midnight there was an argument between her and Mr McFarlane.

Her mother got back shortly afterwards and also became involved in the argument. Karen Clinton and Mr McFarlane ended up in the living room where, each sitting on a sofa and facing each other, the argument became heated.

“Mr McFarlane then heard a noise behind him and felt a pain to the top of his back, and he turned round and saw Jodie Clinton had a knife in her hand.

“She dropped it and ran from the room.She had called the police because of the argument, and when they arrived she was outside and said she had stabbed her stepfather.”

Mr Windridge said Mr McFarlane was found to have a single stab wound to his back, around the shoulder blade, about 1cm deep. But he would not give permission for his medical details to be obtained by the police.

Mr McFarlane made a written statement, but said he would not make a formal complaint, explaining that Clinton was ‘under a lot of stress’ and that he had brought her up since she was nine and did not want her in trouble.

When Clinton, who had taken cocaine before going out, was interviewed, she made a full admission.

She told the police that when her mother and Mr McFarlane were arguing she had feared he would attack her mother, so she took a knife from the kitchen, but did not know how much force she had used.

Mr Windridge added that it was the first time Clinton had been involved with the police, and that Mr McFarlane had declined to make a victim statement.

Delroy Henry, defending, said: “I invite Your Honour to follow the recommendation in the pre-sentence report.”

Without being addressed further, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC, said: “I am with you in the particular circumstances of this case, although that does not mean this is not a grave matter.”

Sentencing Clinton, the judge told her: “You are 23 years of age and this is your first encounter with the courts.

“But on the 21st of October you took up a knife. Only yesterday I had the unpleasant task of sentencing a young man to life imprisonment because he too had picked up a knife and used it.

“The use of knives in society is corrosive, and must not happen, no matter what the circumstances and what the provocation.

“Instead of calling 999 or pulling your mother away and removing her from the situation, you picked up a weapon and slammed it into his back. That is a serious matter, but it could be said it was defence of another, and a level of provocation could be argued.

“I also bear in mind your immediate co-operation, your previous good character, your mental health problems, which I take no further, and your remorse.

“This crosses the custody threshold by some margin, but I step back from passing a custodial sentence by reason of the significant mitigation, and because I find this to be an exceptional case.”