Northern Ireland

Woman given life for South Belfast knife murder

Scales of Justice

A woman who stabbed her partner in the heart has been told she will serve at least 12 years of her life sentence.

Angelina Sara Jane Mitchell, 39, was told by a judge that he accepted there was an "element" of self-defence in her attack on Tony Robin.

However the judge added that her reaction was "completely excessive".

Mitchell, of Lindsay Court in Belfast, was unanimously convicted of murdering Mr Robin at his Fitzroy Avenue home in front of his teenage son in May 2009.

'Turbulent'

Summing up the case, Mr Justice McLaughlin said Mitchell and Mr Robin had a three-year "on-off relationship" which had been "turbulent and volatile" and blighted by verbal and physical abuse from both sides.

On the night of the murder, Mitchell and Mr Robin had a fight over his other son who had been arrested by police.

The pair had a verbal confrontation in the living room, which escalated as Mitchell left the room intending to leave the house.

Mitchell had claimed that Mr Robin had attacked her with a canoe paddle and she then armed herself with a kitchen knife.

However, the judge said that when she was examined there was "little sign of any injury at all".

She also denied that she had gone after her partner, but Mr Justice McLaughlin said that given Mr Robin had been stabbed in the back as well as the chest, "it seems clear that she did go after him".

'Aggressive'

The judge said it was the wound to the heart which caused his rapid collapse and death.

He added that he could find very little evidence of remorse from Mitchell for what she had done and revealed that in the various reports compiled by psychiatrists and probation, Mitchell said she has yet to shed any tears over his death.

He told the court the offence was aggravated by reason "that her behaviour with the knife demonstrated a clear aggressive intent" but mitigated because of the spontaneous nature of the attack.

The judge added there was also an element of "bullying, threatening or intimidating behaviour" but nothing of enough signifiance "to permit her actions".

Turning to victim impact statements, the judge said it was clear the murder "has had a profound effect" on Mr Robin's family "as they have been the victims in their own way of the actions of Angeline Mitchell"..

Speaking outside the court, Mr Robin's sister Kim said she "was not happy" at the sentence:

"We don't think it's enough - just not pleased with the sentence," she said.