Sunderland thug cut girlfriend with steak knife

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A VIOLENT man deliberately cut his girlfriend’s hand with a steak knife during a series of sickening assaults.

Alan Graham caused a two-inch wound between Carol Birbeck’s thumb and forefinger, then threatened to cut his own arm with the blade and pin the blame on her if she reported him to the police.

Just five days before the knife attack in September, the Sunderland 49-year-old had stamped on Miss Birbeck’s foot as he walked past where she was sitting in the living room, leaving it sore and swollen.

The final straw was when Graham repeatedly threw a jewellery box at her face, causing injuries to her head and hands.

Prosecutor John Donkin told the court: “The relationship she had had with the defendant prior to these matters coming to the attention of the police had been difficult.

“The defendant had received a police caution in relation to an assault on her around 12 months before.

“She describes how she was frightened of the defendant.

“When she threatened to contact the police he would take her phone from her and hide it.”

The court heard that during the attacks Graham lashed out for no apparent reason and threatened to turn the knife on himself during the attack in Miss Birkbeck’s kitchen.

Mr Donkin said: “He told her if she rang the police he would slash his own arm and tell the police she had done it to him.”

Miss Birbeck told police she felt “betrayed” by Graham’s behaviour and said “the abuse has to stop”.

Graham, of Villette Road, Hendon, admitted one charge of assault and two of common assault.

He told the court from the witness box during the hearing that he has “no excuse” for his behaviour towards Miss Birbeck but explained he had a problem with alcohol and a number of stressful situations to cope with.

Graham added: “The last two years have been the worst two years of my life.

“I stress this is from the bottom of my heart. This is no excuse. It’s purely and simply just a reflection of my own depression.”

Judge Brian Forster adjourned the case for a fortnight for Graham to be further assessed by probation officials.

The judge said: “I can’t express any final views to what the sentence will be until I have all the information.

“You will have to serve a prison sentence or it can be suspended with active intervention from the probation service.”

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