Chronic insomniac threw knives at girlfriend and punched her dog - after she woke him up

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A man threw knives at his girlfriend and repeatedly punched her dog during a terrifying attack after she woke him up.

Patrick Kearney, 41, who suffers from chronic insomnia, attacked the woman's rottweiler pet before arming himself with a "number of knives", which he started to throw.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 26-year-old victim tried to take refuge in the bathroom but Kearney continued to jab blades at her through a gap in the door.

She suffered cuts to her arm, chest and wrist during the violence in April, which Kearney claims erupted because of his reaction to "street valium", which he took to try and help him sleep.

Kearney, of Juniper Close, Hendon, Sunderland, admitted assault.

The court heard the woman had woken Kearney after she got out of bed because of his "tossing and turning" and saw four blue pills.

It was when she confronted him, while he was still in bed, over what the tablets were that he launched the violent attack.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court: "She shouted up the stairs at the defendant, asking him what they were.

"He mumbled something.

"Next thing was realised was the defendant was punching her dog, a rottweiler, on the corner of the room."

The court heard when the victim got Kearney off the dog, there was "pushing and shoving" between them and he warned her "you are going to regret that".

Mr Rowland added: "He reacted by going into the kitchen and picking up a number of knives.

"At that point, the complainant retreated upstairs with the dog.

"He began to throw the knives towards her.

"She tried to take refuge in the bathroom and attempted to shut the door.

"However, he prevented her from doing so.

"At that point, he had in his hand a three inch knife. He put that through the gap in the door, making stabbing movements with it."

Barry Robson, defending, said Kearney has a criminal record but has been out of trouble for years.

Mr Robson said on the night before the violence, Kearney had taken "street valium" to try and help him sleep.

He added: "He had an adverse reaction while he was asleep.

"When woken up, he behaved in a manner which was unusual.

"He is deeply remorseful."

During police interview Kearney said his "blood was boiling" and he had been aiming the violence at the dog, not his girlfriend.

Judge Robert Adams sentenced Kearney to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme and rehabilitation requirements.

The judge told him: "Your behaviour frightened her. She didn't think you were capable of behaving like this.

"You were on drugs at the time and possibly not anticipating the reaction that there was."