Man 'stabbed pregnant girlfriend' - court

A JEALOUS Suffolk man stabbed his pregnant girlfriend in front of their four young children within hours of his early release from prison, it has been alleged.

Jane Hunt

A JEALOUS Suffolk man stabbed his pregnant girlfriend in front of their four young children within hours of his early release from prison, it has been alleged.

Derek Burns lost his temper after being told his partner Leanne Hammond, who was five months pregnant with their fifth child, had been having an affair while he was in jail, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

During an argument at the couple's home in Baldwin Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, Burns had grabbed a kitchen knife from a drawer and had “plunged” it into Miss Hammond's back, the jury was told.

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She managed to run barefoot from the house in her pyjamas and was taken to hospital suffering from a punctured lung after collapsing in the street.

Giving evidence 23-year-old Miss Hammond told the court that their four children - aged five, four, two and one - had been screaming hysterically after witnessing the attack and at one stage her four-year-old son had climbed on to his father's back.

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Burns, 46, of Ashwell Road, Bury St Edmunds, has denied wounding Miss Hammond with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm on December 15 last year.

The court heard that Burns and Miss Hammond had a seven year relationship which started in 2000 when she was only 16-years-old.

Greg Perrins, prosecuting, described the couple's relationship as “volatile” and said Burns had a problem with alcohol and aggression.

“He has some convictions for offences of violence and he has been violent to Miss Hammond in the past,” said Mr Perrins.

In September Miss Hammond's cousin and her partner had moved in with the couple and Burns, who had been unhappy with the arrangement, had been asked to leave after an argument.

The police were called and Burns had been arrested after he assaulted Miss Hammond's mother in front of officers.

He was released on bail but was rearrested after driving to Miss Hammond's house and on November 27 he admitted assault and was sent to prison.

On December 14, unbeknown to Miss Hammond and her family, Burns was released early from his sentence and he telephoned her and accused her of “acting like a whore” and sleeping with her cousin's partner while he was in jail.

Burns allegedly threatened to stab the man and Miss Hammond was so concerned that she telephoned the police.

Burns spent the night at his father-in-law's house and early the next morning he went to Miss Hammond's house and stabbed her after again accusing her of having an affair while he was in prison, the court heard.

After Miss Hammond ran from the house following the alleged stabbing Burns was seen coming out of the house brandishing a meat cleaver.

Following his arrest, Burns claimed that Miss Hammond had taunted him about having an affair.

“He said he was jealous and feeling cheated and a red mist had descended on him when he heard what was going on,” said Mr Perrins.

He said the jury would have to decide if Burns had deliberately stabbed Miss Hammond or if the incident had been some sort of accident.

Miss Hammond told the court that Burns had been jailed for 16 weeks on November 27 last year for assaulting her mother.

She said she hadn't been notified of his early release from prison after serving just two weeks of his sentence and only found out about it when Burns rang her and told her he was out.

When Burns grabbed the kitchen knife she thought he was going to kill her and she had grabbed a chair to defend herself.

Shortly afterwards she and Burns both fell to the floor and she realised she had been stabbed after noticing her back was wet, she said.

She had suffered a punctured lung and two damaged vertebrae in her back and since the attack she had given birth to another son who Burns had never seen.

The trial continues today (Thurs).

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