Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Woman jailed for stabbing ex-husband in custody battle

A mother who stabbed her ex-husband in the neck over a child custody battle has been jailed for 10 years.

Susan Shadwell was convicted of wounding with intent but cleared of attempting to murder David Shadwell.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Clarke called the case a "sad and extreme example" of battles between estranged parents fighting over their children.

The 41-year-old, of Van Dyck Close in Basingstoke, Hampshire, will serve half her sentence in the community.

The childcare worker had earlier admitted aggravated burglary and was sentenced to four years for that offence, to run concurrently.

'Appalling stress'

The court heard there had been a long-running battle between the couple over contact with their children.

But Shadwell had obstructed her ex-husband and had failed to comply with court orders allowing him access.

She had been warned by the family court that if she did not allow contact, a residence order for the children would not go in her favour.

The mother-of-two hid inside Mr Shadwell's home in nearby Old Basing, dressed in dark clothing, and when he went to bed she stabbed him in the neck.

Defending Shadwell, Ian Lawrie said the "appalling stress" of looking after her daughter when she had leukaemia had taken its toll on an "exemplary mother".

"Her attachment to her children is at the very heart of what it was that prompted her to behave as she did on that fateful day," he said.

Mr Justice Clarke, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, said he had read testimonials from friends and relatives describing her "exemplary character".

"These people would not believe what you did that night," he said.

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