because he didn’t call her every two hours – then casually smoking a cigarette over his blood-soaked body
- Rhiann Burnie jailed for two years and eight months at Burnley Crown Court
- Punched and stabbed partner Shane McMullen after a night out
- Injuries so severe paramedics who treated him thought he was dead
- Mr McMullen has suffered nightmares about being stabbed since attack
- Burnie tried to attack him on two previous occasions with knife
A young mother who left her boyfriend fighting for his life after she stabbed him for not calling her while on a night out has been jailed.
Rhiann Burnie, 21, punched bricklayer Shane McMullen, 23, then knifed him in the shoulder when he returned from a night out with friends.
She then casually lit up a cigarette while standing over his blood-soaked body.
Despite the wound, which severed a major artery and caused significant blood loss, Mr McMullen survived – but has suffered memory loss and has nightmares of being stabbed again.
Burnie who had a reprimand and a caution for battery on her criminal record admitted wounding and was jailed for two years and eight months.
Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Long told Burnie: ‘You sometimes deliberately set out to be confrontational with him.
‘Throughout all of this, Mr McMullen never used violence against you, which in the circumstances was extraordinarily restrained, given the provocation.
‘I am satisfied you were well aware you had caused him serious injury.
‘Rather than offer him help or call an ambulance, you lit and smoked a cigarette. It’s clear Shane was close to death and only the skill of the medical team which operated on him saved his life.’
‘He continues to suffer physical and psychological effects from what you did and is likely to do so for some considerable time.’
Burnley Crown Court was told the couple had been in a relationship for a year and initially were ‘happy and healthy’ yet a ‘darker, more sinister side’ of Burnie’s character emerged.
Burnie had on two previous occasions turned on him with a knife with Mr McMullen having to wrestle it off her.
Jailed: Rhiann Burnie from Burnley, Lancashire has been sentenced to two years and eight months
Mr McMullen lied at work about a black eye Burnie had given him, but never thought she was capable of using a knife and would often leave the house to let her cool down.
She had also smashed doors and furniture during heated arguments and had revealed she had been advised to attend anger management courses.
Rachel Woods, prosecuting, added: ‘She revealed a different side of her character, a volatile side, an aggressive side, an unpredictable side where she would lose her temper and damage the property and furniture, doors, in a fit of rage.
‘No sooner would she blow up she would calm down. In flashes of temper the knife would come out and then matters would calm down – Mr McMullen had little realisation what lay ahead.’
Mr McMullen saw the previous threats as empty and never thought she was capable of using a knife. He would often leave the house to let her cool down.
Miss Woods added: ‘It is quite apparent that she was very keen to know exactly what he was up to that evening. She had run out of credit on her own mobile phone and so she kept his so that they could continue contact throughout the evening.
‘He telephoned her and spoke to her before he went to the party, not causing any difficulty at that stage. He made the error of not keeping in contact with the defendant.’
The court heard Mr McMullen arrived at Burnie’s home in Burnley after the function and she was said to be ‘not best pleased’. She was so annoyed she punched him in the face fracturing his nose and leaving him with a black eye.
She then went to the pub and continued drinking at a friend’s house before returning home at around 3am.
On arriving back she taunted Mr McMullen, telling him that she had been with another man. He got up and dressed before making an attempt to leave.
But as he did so Burnie took the kitchen knife and attacked him in a ‘fit of rage, or jealousy, or control,’ added Miss Woods. Mr McMullen staggered into the backyard where he was found in the backyard with a blood soaked shirt.
Police arrested Burnie but she initially claimed her boyfriend had come home injured, before suggesting there must have been an intruder at the house.
She also refused ‘point blank’ to tell officers Mr McMullen’s name, instead giving a false, foreign name despite police needing to call a next of kin.
She then claimed she hadn’t realised how serious his injuries were and only sought help when she looked out of a back window and saw him turning grey and eyes rolling.
Miss Woods said: ‘She claims that she was unaware that he had a serious injury and thought about turning the lights off and going to bed. She told the police she had a cigarette and she mopped up the blood in the kitchen.’
‘The defendant did later accept that when she got back she was still annoyed and cross that he had left her alone whilst he was enjoying himself.
‘She accepts that she had gone upstairs to the bedroom where he was sleeping and taunted him and tried to get a reaction out of him claiming she had just been with another man.
‘There was a row in which she claims she was pinned down on the bed by him by her wrists, because he was angry and shouted. She accepted he didn’t hit or hurt her.’
In a videotaped interview Mr McMullen said: ‘I went to the engagement do with all my mates and I forgot to ring her. I remember just coming round in hospital. I think my brain shut down.’
He said of the relationship: ‘It was good up until eight months. She just started going loopy like screaming and shouting all the time and throwing stuff about in the house, breaking stuff then I would have to fix it.
‘We’d argue when rough, after we’d been out, then it started happening when we were out and then it was getting worse and worse, we’d argue about little things.
‘She would throw anything, like a plate, I thought ‘what a nutcase’ but she always calmed down. We would be arguing and she would go to hit me, she thought I had been looking at her mates if we were out. If I couldn’t calm her down I used to go for a walk.
‘She picked up a knife before but I never felt threatened. I thought she might have slashed me, I never took much notice because I never felt threatened.
‘She got a knife and started waving it around, I said ‘what are you doing’, she started pointing it about. I was a bit paranoid. This is when it was getting ropey and I was thinking ‘this isn’t going to work’.’
He said he had repaired the bedroom door four times after she broke it by kicking and pushing it through.
He said: ‘Every time we had an argument she would do that so I would have to repair it. I just think she needs to sort her anger problems out. She used to say people told her to go for anger management, she never really went into it.’
‘I have the odd nightmare about being stabbed, not by her, by other people, someone comes and sits on me and stabs me in the chest. I’ve had it more than once, it makes me wake up. I just try and block it out.’
Mr McMullen is now said to be back living with his parents.
Burnie was cleared of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. In mitigation her lawyer Keith Harrison said she was ‘truly remorseful’ and extremely ashamed of what she had done.
She had been in abusive relationships before the relationship with Mr McMullen but he had not given her any trouble. The barrister continued: ‘It may be that became a mechanism she got used to and got used to responding to that by picking up a knife.’
‘She didn’t realise he was so badly injured and did not callously sit there waiting for him to expire or sustain serious, long-standing injury. She regrets this may have put his life at risk. She wasn’t thinking straight at the time.’
After the case Det Insp Neil Howarth from Lancashire Police said: ‘This attack was unprovoked and it was only the skill and expertise of paramedics and medical staff that saved the victim’s life.
‘The physical and psychological effects of the attack will remain with him but I hope that this sentence gives him some closure as he wishes to now move forward with his life.’
Comparisons have been made between the case and a Coronation Street storyline featuring Kirsty Soames.