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Sleepwalker guilty of attempted killing

A man who said he was sleepwalking when he tried to knife his wife has been found guilty of attempted murder. Taxi driver John Docherty claimed he was suffering from somnambulism when he stabbed wife Eileen at their home in Glasgow’s Penilee district in December 2009.

Following an evening out Mrs Docherty said she awoke to find her husband of 37 years standing above her with a knife in his hand and a glassy look in his eyes. The next thing she recalled was finding emergency services personnel in her bedroom saying they had come to help her.

During the knife attack the 56-year-old woman received a number of slashes to her face, throat and hands, which doctors said could have been fatal, and have left her scarred for life. The trial at Glasgow’s High Court was told that prior to the attack Docherty, 57, had not been his usual self for several weeks.

The prosecution alleged that Docherty thought his wife was having an affair and checked her mobile phone for text messages and calls as well as accompanied her on a weekend shift at work. The couple sought assistance in resolving the issue and their doctor noted there was a marital problem.

Docherty had previously had bouts of somnambulism and claimed this as his defence, which prosecution expert professor Colin Espie refuted as he said that it was highly improbable that he could still have been asleep when he tried to stab his wife.

Mrs Docherty said that she did not believe her husband would have tried to kill her if he had known what he was doing. Judge John Beckett delayed sentencing until next month.

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