Burnley woman jailed for stabbing boyfriend

Rhiann Burnie
Rhiann Burnie

A Burnley woman has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after stabbing her boyfriend in an unprovoked attack.

Rhiann Burnie (21), of Boundary Street, was sentenced at Burnley Crown Court today for the offence in April, 2013, in which boyfriend Shane McMullen suffered a broken nose and near-fatal stab wound.

Burnie had pleaded guilty to wounding but was found not guilty of causing it with intent by a jury at the same court in November last year.

Burnie had been bailed to an address in Highgate, Nelson, ahead of sentencing.

At that time, Recorder Andrew Long told Burnie that although she had not been found guilty of the more serious offence, the offence she had pleaded guilty to was one of “great gravity” and she should prepare herself for a custodial sentence.

At sentencing, it was claimed in court the relationship between the two had resumed, but Recorder Long decided to progress with the situation that Mr McMullen was living with his parents.

On the night of the incident at around 3-30am on Sunday, April 7th 2013, officers were called to Burnie’s address in Boundary Street, Burnley, following a report that a man had been stabbed.

On arrival, Mr McMullen was suffering from a serious stab wound to the chest in the back yard of the property. He was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital by ambulance in a critical condition.

At the trial, Burnley Crown Court heard that the row that led to the stabbing blew up when Burnie falsely told Mr McMullen she had cheated on him.

Earlier in the evening, Mr McMullen had been out at a party and had forget to call Burnie as promised before returning to the house to be with her and her daughter.

Burnie later woke Mr McMullen to start a row after she had been drinking. Mr McMullen was punched in the face, causing him the broken nose, and he got dressed to go back to his parents house.

As he went to leave the back door, Burnie grabbed the knife and stabbed Mr McMullen. As he was bleeding, Burnie lit a cigarette before going to get help.

When the emergency services arrived, she gave Mr McMullen a different name.

Keith Harrison (defending) said that Burnie had suffered a history of abusive relationships before this one, and although it did not excuse the attack he said it may have been “a mechanism”.

Mr Harrison said Burnie took up the knife “in a spur of the moment” and “did not intend to cause the serious consequences”.

He said there was only one blow and “no follow up attack” and that she “did not callously sit there waiting for him to expire”. Mr Harrison said she had persisted with a neighbour to call the ambulance.

On her initial lies to police, Mr Harrison added: “She did not persist with these lies for any great length of time. She is not proud of this at all.”

He said Burnie was not thinking straight at the time of the attack and “regrets” the attack put his life at risk.

Sentencing, Recorder Long said Mr McMullen had never used violence against Burnie.

Setting the scene of the attack, Recorder Long said Mr McMullen had “staggered into the back yard bleeding heavily”. He said blood was “spraying from the wound” before “pooling under his body”.

Recorder Long told Burnie: “I’m satisfied you knew you had caused him serious injury.” He added: “Shane, it’s clear, was close to death.”

Recorder Long also said Burnie’s conduct in the aftermath of the stabbing was “extremely discreditable”, as telling police Mr McMullen’s name was Lucas, it meant his family were unaware of his situation.

He added that Mr McMullen continued to suffer physical and psychological effects from the attack.