Defendant ‘snapped’ as she felt ‘goaded’ by her brother

A WOMAN “snapped” and thrust a glass at her brother as she was busy making Christmas Day dinner.

Tracey McElrue became irritated with her sibling and her ex-partner who had both been drinking heavily as she tried to get on making the Christmas meal at her home in Consett.

Durham Crown Court heard that she, too, was drinking, but not to the extent of the others.

Chris Wood, prosecuting, said at one point as her brother approached she lashed out while holding a glass and caught him on the lower part of his head.

The court heard that while a call was made to the emergency services to report the incident, she was heard in the background saying she thought she had killed him.

Ambulance paramedics arrived to administer first aid at the scene to the 5cm laceration, and the victim was taken to hospital for further treatment, but he refused to provide a statement to assist the prosecution.

When arrested, McElrue told police: “Yes, I did it,” and in her interview she claimed her brother was being “obnoxious and argumentative” as she was trying to make the Christmas dinner.

She claimed she did not regret it, saying it did not bother her and it was all down to the way her brother had been “going on lately”.

Dr Wood said McElrue added: “Everyone has troubles, but he seems to think his are worse than anyone else’s.”

The 52-year-old defendant, of Sherburn Terrace, admitted unlawful wounding.

Paul Cross, mitigating, said her brother and ex-partner were both “extremely drunk” and she felt she was being wound up by them.

“She was trying to cook a Christmas meal and was being goaded by them and she accepted she lashed out, and just snapped after years of pressure.”

Mr Cross said the defendant is a cleaner for the National Health Service, at a clinic at Shotley Bridge, but also child minds and acts as a carer for a member of her family.

Judge James Adkin told Mr Cross that he would not pass an immediate prison sentence, but said the defendant, “needs a reminder that it’s not a good idea to take a glass to someone”.

He told McElrue: “You are a woman of mature years with very little criminal history to your name.

“On Christmas Day, when under stress trying to cook Christmas dinner for the family, you were rowing with them, and, as your brother came towards you, you hit them with a glass causing a cut to the neck.

“It’s obviously exceptionally dangerous to put something sharp to someone’s neck. You and he are fortunate that no more serious injury was caused.”

He imposed a 12-month prison sentence, but as he considers she does not pose, “a significant risk” to the public, he could suspend it for two years, during which she must perform 100-hours’ unpaid work. She must also complete 20 probation-led rehabilitation activity days.

The Northern Echo | Durham