Posted by News Express | 29 July 2019 | 575 times
A junior footballer who tried to kill his ex-lover after she dumped him has been jailed for more than nine years.
Richard Finnis pounced on Helen Gallacher at her flat in Inverness in February this year.
The 31 year-old repeatedly stabbed the terrified mum with a two-pronged cheese knife.
Finnis today returned to the High Court in Glasgow having earlier pled guilty to an attempted murder charge.
He was locked up for nine years and three months.
Lord Mulholland paid tribute to Helen, 30, while branding the attack on her “vicious and brutal”.
The judge said: “This was no spur of the moment act – you armed yourself with a fearsome weapon.
Richard Finnis has been caged for more than nine years for the attack
“It was your intention to do her serious harm. Your assault on a defenceless woman was cowardly in the extreme.
“She did nothing to merit what you did to her. She was lucky to survive.
“It is a testament to her courage and fortitude that this brave woman will not let what you did her defeat her.”
Finnis refused to look at his ex in court as he was lead to the cells.
The couple were together for six years before Helen ended the relationship days before Christmas last year.
Prosecutor Eoghainn MacLean said: “He struggled to get over the separation.
“He inundated her with phone calls and social media messages in relation to the break-up.”
MacLean added it was clear Finnis “was not coping” months later.
On February 15 – the night before the attack – Helen met a man during an evening out in Inverness.
She stayed with him until the early hours before returning home in the morning.
Hours later, Finnis – who played for Highland side Strathspey Thistle – was then spotted prowling near her flat.
Around 11.30am, Helen woke up and found she had a message from her ex.
MacLean said: “It revealed that he had known where she had been with the person, who she met the night before.”
Finnis was clocked by neighbours approaching the flat armed with a nine-inch cheese knife.
MacLean: “Helen saw his shadow through the curtains of the patio door and then heard it being slid open as he came in.
“She shouted at him to leave. With the knife in his right hand, Finnis stated: ‘You’ve driven me to this. I am going to kill you’.”
Terrified Helen tried to run, but he caught up and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck.
She screamed at him: “What about our son? We’ve got a little boy.”
Finnis replied: “He does not need you. He will be fine without you.”
MacLean told the court how Helen was “fighting for her life”.
She bravely tried to push him off, but Finnis then stabbed her on the body.
Helen Gallagher ran to neighbours for help after being stabbed by Richard Finnis
The advocate depute added: “She was bleeding profusely, but managed to get up to the front door.
“She ran onto the street screaming for help and banging on neighbours’ doors.”
Finnis also left the flat and claimed he was going to kill himself.
Helen eventually collapsed on the street as people raced to her aid.
The court heard she suffered a string of significant injuries needing hours of surgery.
MacLean: “She required blood transfusions. The surgery and treatment saved her life.”
She was only able to leave hospital nearly two weeks later.
The hearing was told the ordeal has “changed her life”.
She is now dependant on her parents and has “recurring memories” of the attack.
MacLean: “As a result of her injuries, she may be unable to return to work and care for her son, as she did before.
“It is her conviction to do so that keeps her going.”
Finnis was held on February 24 after an initial missing person’s inquiry.
A massive police search – involving sniffer dogs as well as a coastguard helicopter – found him living rough in woods in Inverness.
Shahid Latif, defending, today said Finnis was “deeply sorry” for what happened. (Agency report)
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