Northern Ireland

Allan Monaghan attacked woman he met online

A man who used a potato peeler to repeatedly stab a woman he met on the internet has been sent to prison.

Allan Robert Michael Monaghan, from Damascus Street in Belfast, attacked the woman three days after he had met her on Facebook.

Sentencing him to four years imprisonment, the judge warned people about the dangers of meeting people online.

Monaghan, 38, will spend two years in prison and two on supervised licence.

He admitted four charges arising from the stabbing, which occurred in the Holylands area of the city on 12 November, 2012.

He admitted wounding 27-year-old Ashlene Shields with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm. He also admitted assaulting police and two further counts of common assault.

The prosecutor said Monaghan and Ms Shields first met on social media. On 7 November, 2012 they met in person and went to a house in the Holylands with other people where alcohol and prescription drugs were consumed.

In the course of the evening, Monaghan tore off Ms Shields top, prompting a man in the house to punch him.

There was then a struggle between Monaghan and Ms Shields, during which she felt pain in her upper thigh.

Mr Magill said this pain was caused by her being stabbed in the leg with a potato peeler. She subsequently sustained multiple stab wounds, including an injury to her neck and hand, and was rushed to hospital.

The court was told Monaghan had 147 previous convictions.

Defence counsel said his client had a "long history" of drug addiction, which he had been trying to address. He had also apologised to his victim.

The judge said: "This young lady met you through the internet and it should show the dangers of meeting people through the internet, who you know very little about, because no doubt when people are on the internet they don't volunteer that they have a criminal record.

"The advantage of meeting people face to face is that you are likely to form a judgement on the type of person they are."

As Monaghan was being led from the dock, Ms Shields shouted: "I don't accept your apology, you rat."

Outside court the Belfast woman said she was attacked by Monaghan three days after meeting him online.

She said she, Monaghan and several other people had been watching a football match and had gone back to the house.

She claimed that when she rebuffed Monaghan, he ripped her top off and stabbed her with the potato peeler.

Ms Shields said: "At first, I didn't know I'd been stabbed. I just felt this real pain just below my bum cheek, then my neck started to hurt."

Rejecting Monaghan's apology, Ms Shields said: "He could have taken me away from my two sons."

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