Ex stabbed in back as he slept off hangover

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A mum-of-one walked uninvited into her ex- partner’s Burnley home wearing pink pyjamas, calmly went upstairs and knifed him in the back as he lay face down sleeping off a hangover, a court heard.

Emily Jane Whittaker (35) said to have been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Francis Fleming, then walked out of his house, went to her nearby home and had a bath.

Whittaker, who had gone to Mr Fleming’s property armed with the blade, was arrested a short time after the mid-afternoon attack, after police went to her house.

She was in the bathroom and the pink pyjamas were on the floor. A knife was found in a gutter, Burnley Magistrates’ Court was told at an earlier hearing.

Whittaker, who has mental health issues, is now facing possible jail, after admitting wounding Mr Fleming, the father of her young child, last November 30th.

She denied the more serious charge of wounding him with intent to do him grievous bodily harm when she appeared at Burnley Crown Court and her plea was accepted by the prosecution. She had no previous convictions.

The defendant, of Fenwick Street, Burnley, was bailed by a judge until February 26th to undergo pre-sentence and psychiatric reports and in the meantime she must not contact Mr Fleming or go within 100 metres of his house in Coal Clough Lane.

She was warned by Judge Beverley Lunt: “You know this is a very serious incident and all sentences, including prison, will have to be considered.”

Burnley magistrates had earlier been told how last November 30th, Mr Fleming had spent most of the day in bed with a hangover.

Tracy Yates (prosecuting) had told the lower court: “At around 3pm, he was fast asleep, face down when he felt a severe pain to his right shoulder.

He jumped out of bed and saw Emily Whittaker leaving the room. He shouted at her to leave the house. Mr Fleming could feel blood running down his back and realised he had been stabbed.”

Miss Yates said when police went to the defendant’s home, she was in the bath and the pink pyjamas were on the floor.

She was questioned on December 1st and in her first interview said she felt poorly. It was later resumed and was by way of a prepared statement.

Whittaker said she had received some medication but felt incapable of giving a meaningful interview. She gave no comment.

Philip Turner, representing Whittaker at the earlier hearing, said she suffered from anxiety and depression and was on medication.

He said there was no record of police call-outs as a result of complaints by Mr Fleming. There were four previous call-outs for domestic violence by Mr Fleming on Miss Whittaker.

He continued: “Two were threats and two were physical violence.”

Mr Turner said Mr Fleming did not want the police involved on November 30th.

He said: “He wasn’t happy with his friend who telephoned the police.”

At the crown court hearing, prosecutor Mercedeh Jabbari told the judge Whittaker delivered a single blow to Mr Fleming, around his shoulder blade.

She said: “The complainant sought assistance from paramedics. The paramedics attempted to get him to go to the hospital. He refused to do so and has been somewhat reluctant in the case generally.”

Clare Ashcroft, representing Whittaker at the crown court, said: “The court may be assisted by a psychiatric report.

“There appears to be a suggestion from her there has been a domestic violence background, which I believe may well be supported by some of the disclosure that’s taking place.”