Woman who glassed her own sister walks free from court

editorial image
Have your say

WOMAN has walked free from court after a knife and glass attack that left her sister needing 50 stitches to her face.

Julia Conroy, 43, slashed Evelyn Humphrey’s arms and body with a knife then repeatedly plunged a broken wine glass into her face.

Ms Humphrey needed months of treatment to repair her face and is still facing plastic surgery.

A previous court hearing was adjourned for an up to date victim impact statement to be taken from Ms Humphrey and give her a chance to read a letter of apology written by Conroy.

After reading the letter Ms Humphrey said: “I feel these words are not what she would say and this is a desperate attempt to redeem herself.”

Ms Humphrey described her life since the attack as a “total nightmare”.

Conroy, who admitted unlawful wounding, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 180 hours unpaid work.

She has been banned from contacting her sister under the terms of a restraining order lasting five years.

Judge Roger Thorn QC told her: “The wounding itself was a terrifying incident.

“There is something like 50 stitches to her face and ten to her forearm. There has been permanent injuries, no matter what any cosmetic surgery

can do.”

Judge Thorn told the court Ms Humphrey had said in her statement she did not want her sister to go to jail.

The judge said despite Miss Humphrey’s reluctance to accept her sister’s apology, he was convinced her remorse is real.

Judge Thorn told Conroy: “I am prepared to accept your apologies are genuine, that your remorse is genuine and your plea of guilty, at least in some part, reflects that.”

The heard the sisters had been “like peas in a pod” before violence flared in March last year and had described themselves as being “the best of friends”.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court there had been a misunderstanding between the siblings over meeting arrangements earlier in the day but it is unclear exactly what prompted the violence when the pair were drinking at Miss Humphrey’s home.

Mr Wardlaw said: “For whatever reason an argument developed between the two sisters.

“The argument escalated and became violent, with the defendant slapping the complainant across the face with what was believed to be part of a mobile telephone handset

“The argument escalated further.

“Both began wrestling with each other, scuffling and pulling each others hair.”

The court heard the fight ended up in the kitchen, with the sisters ending up in a bear hug.

Mr Wardlaw added: “The defendant reached around and got a knife, either from the sink area or a drawer, the complainant could not say which, and began slashing the complainant.

“This escalated further. At one point the defendant was seen to pick up a glass and break it then jab the glass into the face of her sister.

“There were many injuries. A total of 50 stitches were inserted into the complainant’s face.

“Treatment is ongoing, plastic surgery will be required for some time to enable to injuries to hopefully heal.”

Conroy told police during interview she had struck her sister’s face only once with the broken glass.

But Mr Wardlaw told the court: “The medical expert said the extent of the injuries to her face are unusual for a single attack with a broken glass and much more likely it was thrust repeatedly into Evelyn Humphrey’s face.

“She had superficial injuries to her arms and body.”

Conroy, of East Grange, Sunderland, handed references to her usually positive character in to the court.

Robin Patton, defending, said: “The defendant earnestly hopes there will come a time when she may have some kind of relationship with her sister again and their family.

“They were, until this drunken afternoon, very close sisters who depended upon each other throughout their lives.

“Apart from this, she’s a decent, hard working person.”