Man sentenced to 12 years for trying to kill his partner in front of four-year old child

25/04/2012

Michael Saunders, 48, from Swindon has been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment today at Bristol Crown Court for the attempted murder of his partner last December.

Following the sentence, Rachael Marshall, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex said: "This is a tragic case of extreme domestic violence, where the controlling and aggressive behaviour of the defendant led him to stab his partner in front of their daughter who was four years old at the time, while their two-year old boy was sleeping in his cot."

"Michael Saunders was described by his partner, the victim, as an abusive and controlling man.

"They had been living on and off together for approximately six years after meeting on a night out in Nottingham. They had two children from this relationship. They moved to Swindon last year; however Saunders kept his job in Nottingham.

"From the moment they moved to the Swindon area, their relationship deteriorated. On Friday 16 December 2011, the victim decided to go on a night out with her brother, leaving the children with Saunders.

"Not long after she returned home and went to bed, Saunders confronted her. He knew that she wanted to leave him and could not bear it. She went to the bathroom where he followed her with a large kitchen knife and launched a violent attack.

"The couples child was woken up by the noise from the fight and witnessed the atrocious scene. The child was able to give a clear account to the police:  "Daddy had the knife, it was a big knife. He tipped the knife upside down and went like this" (she demonstrated a downward stabbing motion as she said this as if holding the knife herself). She said "Mummy got hit on the head".

"She then said to the police how she saw her mummy bleeding heavily and added: "Daddy told mummy to die and he told the police that Mummy had a knife but she didn't. That was a lie."

"No child should ever witness such a distressing scene.  It was the child that urged Saunders to call for an ambulance.

Her evidence, along with all the other available evidence made this a strong case against Saunders and it was clear that he did not act in self defence. Thanks to his guilty plea, the victim and her daughter will not have to re-live their ordeal. We hope now that they will be able to move on with their lives. Our thoughts are with them at this moment."