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Accrington stab mum's sentence not too long
9:08am Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
A MOTHER who stabbed a friend repeatedly in the back after inviting him back to her house for a party has been told by top judges that her 10-year jail sentence was not a day too long.
Margaret Gilheaney, 37, and her daughter Isabel both used knives to stab family friend Matthew Howard from behind after he got into a fight with Isabel's boyfriend in February last year.
Gilheaney, of Elizabeth Street, Springhill, Accrington, was jailed for 10 years at Burnley Crown Court on February 6 this year, after pleading guilty to wounding with intent and violent disorder.
Yesterday she asked Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Hedley and Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, to cut her sentence, arguing that she had been treated too harshly.
The court heard that Mr Howard ‘thought he was going to die’ as he was savagely attacked by the two women and slashed with a knife by Isabel Gilheaney's boyfriend, Martin Maughan.
The victim was dragged into an alley and left there after the attack, but his life was saved by emergency medical treatment after Margaret Gilheaney called an ambulance.
Isabel Gilheaney received a sentence of six years detention for the part she played and Maughan was jailed for three years four months, Mr Justice Hedley said.
Margaret Gilheaney's 10-year term also contained an element of punishment for her role in encouraging violence at another party at their home in August 2010.
Lawyers for the mother argued that 10 years was too long, given that the knife attack had begun with a misguided att-empt to protect her daughter's boyfriend.
But, dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Hedley said: “We are particularly struck by the image of two women repeatedly stabbing a man in the back long after any need to defend Maughan had been met.
“The judge was entitled to conclude that this was a category one offence. The judge had firmly in mind the basis of plea. In our judgment, his conclusion that 10 years was an appropriate sentence is beyond criticism,” he concluded.