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Man, who stabbed woman 13 times, gets 15 years

Man, who stabbed woman 13 times, gets 15 years
Grafton McDowall


The only saving grace for a Rillan Hill resident on an attempted murder charge was that he admitted to stabbing his victim multiple times.

This was the only element which reduced his sentence from 23 years to 15 years in prison, and after the time which he had already spent in jail was subtracted, Grafton McDowall’s final sentence as it was handed down at the High Court last Friday, was 13 years and 11 months.

McDowall, 31, of Rillan Hill, is said to have a history of abnormal behaviour.

Just an hour into January 14, 2016, McDowall trespassed, armed with a knife, onto the property of Lorna Daniel where he stabbed her at least 13 times. He was charged and subsequently pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and attempted murder.

At the time, Daniel was living in the house with McDowall’s grandmother, for whom she was a live-in caretaker. Her son, who also lived there, was nine years old at the time. Daniel was granted full power of attorney by the owner of the house.

McDowall was not allowed on the property where his grandmother lived because of a previous dispute between his family over property. Despite that, he had broken into the house a number of times before and also assaulted Daniel, and he also apparently threatened to kill her more than once.

Crown counsel Karim Nelson submitted these facts to Justice Brian Cottle along with sentencing recommendations. He stated he believed the sole mitigating feature to be McDowall’s guilty plea.

After a request by McDowall for Daniel to say in court how much money she wanted in settlement, the judge asked him what he could offer her for the infliction of over a dozen stab wounds, but McDowall insisted on hearing a figure from Daniel.

However, any hopes were dashed when Daniel, who was present and had been listening, stated finitely, “Grafton don’t have money to pay me for what I suffering all now so just, what allyuh have to do, just do.”

Listing the aggravating features of the case, Justice Cottle noted that the defendant had used a weapon, and he had given her multiple injuries.

The offence happened at night, in a house, and “no matter whose house it is, whose house you think it is, or what right you think persons have to be in that house,” Daniel had a right to feel secure there, Cottle stated.

The presence of a young child and elderly woman further aggravated the offence. Finally, given the circumstances, it was sure to have been premeditated, Cottle noted.

The judge started at a point of 20 years in prison given these observations, and raised this to 23 years because of his lengthy criminal record which displays similar behaviour in the past.

For the only mitigating feature, the guilty plea, the required one third discount was applied.

Therefore, on the charge of attempted murder, McDowall was sentenced to 13 years and 11 months. On the second count of aggravated burglary he was given a term of six years and eight months imprisonment. Both of these sentences are to run concurrently.

In prison, McDowall will continue to receive psychotherapy and medication to temper his behaviour. This was an order made by the judge who read the social inquiry report, in which the Superintendent of Prisons advises that McDowall is argumentative and has fought with other prisoners on “at least four different occasions.”