Murder bid accused 'sleepwalking'

A taxi driver accused of trying to murder his wife has claimed he was suffering from a sleep disorder.

John Docherty, 57, has gone on trial accused of attacking Eileen at their home in Penilee, Glasgow, in December 2009.

He was said to have repeatedly struck her with a knife, leaving her permanently scarred.

Docherty's legal team have lodged a special defence claiming Docherty was sleepwalking at the time.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Mrs Docherty backed her husband, claiming he would not have knowingly assaulted her.

She told prosecutor Laura Thomson that she had known her husband to sleepwalk ever since they were married, 37 years ago.

The 56-year-old recalled waking up with Mr Docherty, who she called Ian, standing at the side of the bed.

Mrs Docherty said: "His eyes were open. There were always like that when he was sleepwalking. They were starey and glassy."

She said he was holding a knife that she had earlier used to cut bread.

Mrs Docherty asked what he was doing, but he gave no reply.

The mother-of-two told the jury: "It all happened so very fast. I tried to get the knife from him. There was a struggle. I grabbed hold of the blade with two hands. It was just sheer panic."

She added: "I think I was just screaming. I was on the floor and the next thing I remember was the paramedics being there. I remember them saying they were there to help."

Mrs Docherty later said: "I basically know that he was asleep.

"There is no way that Ian would have done this knowingly."

Docherty denies the charge and alleges he was in a state of non-insane automatism at the time having acted during the onset of somnambulism.

The trial, before Judge John Beckett QC, continues.