Retired civil servant armed herself with meat cleaver and knife before injuring woman

A retired civil servant caused injury to a woman after arming herself with a meat-cleaver and a knife at her home in Sunderland.

Evelyn Humphrey had drank a quarter bottle of gin and taken sleeping tablets before carrying out the offence at her then-Wearside home on January 25 this year. The incident occurred after concerns were raised for the 64-year-old’s safety after she made a number of calls to her adult son.

Humphrey’s son then attended her home on Wearmouth Drive along with Humphrey’s ex-partner and his sister. But upon their arrival, the defendant stormed out of her home armed with two blades and “waved” a knife at her ex-partner’s sister and causing injury to her hand.

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Humphrey, now of Navigation Point, Middleton Road, Hartlepool, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday to be sentenced for section 20 wounding and two counts of possession of a bladed article. She had pleaded guilty to the offences.

The court heard that at around 11pm on January 25 Humphrey contacted her adult son, who was living with the victim and her brother, who was the defendant’s ex-partner. During one of her calls, Humphrey told her son she had “harmed herself”, so they all travelled to her home to check on her.

Emma Hughes, prosecuting, said that upon arrival, the victim and her brother waited in a car as Humphrey’s son went to check on her. Suspecting potential trouble, the victim began recording Humphrey on her phone, which angered her. Humphrey was then seen to be in possession of a meat cleaver and a “hefty” kitchen knife as she left her home.

Ms Hughes said: “The defendant came out of her home with a knife in her hand. She was described as being drunk and didn’t recognise the victim. The defendant was shouting ‘who are you?’ and she swung the knife at her. The victim held her hand up and the knife struck her fingers causing immediate pain.”

Humphrey’s son then “bearhugged” her from behind and disarmed her before the police arrived. In police interview, Humphrey told officers she had drank a quarter bottle of gin and had taken sleeping tablets that night.

In a victim statement, the woman said the incident left her in “complete shock” and had since suffered a “great deal of stress”.

David Callan, defending, said Humphrey had no previous convictions and was a “retired civil servant” who has a pension, but added her “financial means have stretched”. He said Humphrey moved to Hartlepool from Sunderland following the incident and that it was out of character what she did.

He added: “Her dog walking business has collapsed due to negative social media.” The court heard that the offences were committed amid a “background of an unhappy breakup” and “disharmony” with her former partner.

Sentencing Humphrey, Judge Julie Clemitson said the incident was “extremely concerning” and said she could have caused “extremely serious injury” to the woman. She added that due to her previous good character there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and sentenced her to 16 months prison, suspended for 18 months.

She must complete up to 30 rehabilitation days and 120 hours unpaid work and a two year restraining order was imposed.

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