Published Wednesday, 30 January 2013
The woman was jailed for three years by Belfast Crown Court. (© UTV)
Margaret Joanne Collins, a 44-year-old mother of one from Hynford Street in Belfast, carried out the attack on husband Brian last March.
Judge Kinney on Wednesday told her it was a serious assault, a sustained attack, committed in domestic circumstances against a then vulnerable victim.
However the Judge accepted that Collins' martial relationship was volatile, violent and destructive, characterised by chronic drinking and domestic violence.
Reports also indicated, he said, that Collins was an anxious and vulnerable woman who would require considerable support and supervision. He added that while she did not pose a general danger to the public, she could represent a possible danger to her husband.
Prosecutor Stephen McCourt said that Collins had been out with a girlfriend and returned home to find she had been locked out by her husband.
He eventually opened the door and a drunken argument broke out between them.
At one stage in the kitchen a drunken Collins repeatedly punched her husband about the face before "tipping a kettle of freshly boiled water" over his head.
Mr McCourt said although her friend got her to stop, she did punch him again in the head.
The following afternoon an ambulance had to be called and Mr Collins was rushed to hospital where he was in a coma for a number of days.
He also received plastic surgery for injuries to his scalp.
Defence QC Terence McDonald that what occurred had been an escalation of what had happened in the past, a depressingly familiar story of a couple who both had alcohol problems and when drinking their behaviour became disinherited, sometimes involving violence.
Collins, said Mr McDonald, when sober, was an ordinary, agreeable woman, but who had a certain naivety about her married relationship.
Reports, added the lawyer, indicated that Collins is not seen as a dangerous person as far as the public was concerned.
As part of her sentence, Judge Kinney ordered that Collins serve an extended two-year period of supervised licensed parole upon her release from jail.