Published: 15:21, 02 November 2018
| Updated: 21:07, 02 November 2018
A wife who is lucky to be alive after a frenzied knife attack by her husband has declared she is standing by him.
Michael Barnard inflicted at least 46 wounds, penetrating his wife Shannon’s liver, lungs and bowel, after they rowed about him cheating on her.
Before jailing him for 20 years today, a judge said it was “an absolute miracle” she survived and it was only the skill of surgeons that saved her.
Having asked to address Judge Philip Statman, Shannon, who spent 17 days in hospital after the “ferocious” attack, claimed she was not left with any long-term physical or psychological harm.
Questioned about how she saw their future together, she said: “Just to be together and have a life we both want, and have a family.”
Asked if she forgave her husband, Shannon, who has visited him regularly in prison, answered: “Yes, of course.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard at the trial in July, Barnard told his wife as he repeatedly knifed her at their home: “You have got to die.”
He denied attempted murder but was convicted. He was acquitted of raping another woman.
The terrifying attack on Shannon, 21, happened at the couple’s fixed caravan at Valley Park in Lower Road, Hextable, on January 11 this year.
Judge Statman described the scene afterwards as “resembling a shock and horror film from the level of blood I have seen in photographs”.
"I was just thinking I was going to die, that I was dead..." Shannon Barnard
The previous month Barnard, 25, was alleged to have raped a woman at the caravan while his wife slept off the effects of drink and “doing balloons” of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.
The victim and others had been to Bluewater shopping centre drinking cocktails before downing more alcohol and doing balloons of the gas at the caravan.
After Shannon was sick and went to bed, Barnard was left alone with the woman he was alleged to have raped.
Prosecutor Christopher May said Barnard was suffering mental problems and did not want to get married.
About two days later the woman told a friend she had been raped. She reported it at a hospital at the end of December.
Barnard accepted he had intercourse with the woman, but claimed she consented.
Mr May said Shannon was inclined to believe his claim that it was not rape.
But on January 11, they rowed about him cheating on her. She went to sleep on a sofa and woke up to hear Barnard on the phone to his father, who also lived on the caravan site.
Barnard then came out of the bedroom with a kitchen knife and started to stab her.
“She was screaming,” said Mr May. “He pushed her into the kitchen. He said: ‘You have got to die.’
“He then stabbed her repeatedly to the chest and abdomen, causing a large number of injuries, some of which were very serious.
“She sustained many wounds to her hands and palms, sometimes referred to as defensive injuries as she tried to fight him off and defend herself from the attack.”
Barnard had a wound to the left side of his chest. It was suggested he deliberately stabbed himself.
Barnard was taken to hospital before an ambulance arrived for his wife.
Shannon, who remained outside the courtroom while the verdicts were returned, said at the trial she feared she was dying during the attack.
"I was on my back on the floor and Mike was literally on top of me, and was just stabbing me,” she said. “He was on his knees and leant over me.
"I remember him trying to move my arms away and I was just screaming. He didn't say anything apart from when I said: 'Stop. I've got to call my dad'.
"He said 'No, you've got to die'. I was just thinking I was going to die, that I was dead."
“This was a relentless and horrifying assault upon her. It was ferocious...” Judge Statman
He stopped when his parents and an uncle arrived at the caravan.
Her eyes were rolling, she said. She could hear her father-in-law shouting to his son “What have you done?”
"I was opening and closing my eyes,” she continued. “They were screaming at him. His mum said 'What have you done?' and I said 'He has killed me. I'm dying'.
She revealed she kept a knife under her bed because she was worried about him.
Asked if she was standing by him, she paused and replied: “I wish him all the best.”
The court was told Barnard was suffering from an “adjustment disorder” at the time of the attack, but had since recovered.
Judge Statman said the wounds inflicted on Shannon, including to her arms, legs and breasts, had left cosmetic deformity.
“It is very traumatic for a young woman to have to live with for the rest of her life,” he added.
The judge said although it was a very bad case, it did not warrant a discretionary life sentence or extended sentence.
Submitting that the sentence could be in single figures, David Taylor, defending, said Shannon had indicated she wanted to continue her life with Barnard.
“He has talked it through with his wife,” said Mr Taylor. “They intend to get back together and start a family. In my submission, there is no psychological harm.”
Although Barnard stabbed his wife in the liver, which could have proved fatal, it had healed, he said.
Judge Statman replied: “It is a miracle – an absolute miracle. Thank goodness for the skill of the surgeons.”
“The victim is lucky to be alive,” said Mr Martin. “The miracle works in both their favours. She has no long-term injuries and the defendant still has a wife.
“They have resolved to continue their lives together. To put it (the sentence) in double figures, rather than single figures, would serve no purpose.
“I ask you not to throw away the key because these two intend to get back together. The defendant has shown remorse. He says he wishes he hadn’t done it. I ask you to give him some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Shannon and her mother sat on opposite sides of the court throughout the hearing on Friday, and left by separate doors.
Judge Statman outlined the victim’s injuries – 14 wounds to the chest and breasts, 10 to the abdomen and others to the left thigh and hip, left hand and right upper arm. Both lungs collapsed.
He told Barnard: “As a result of what you did to her she fell into clinical shock with very low blood pressure and high pulse rate.
“Your wife was extraordinarily lucky to have survived this ordeal. The reason she did so was due to very quick medical response, together with the extraordinary skill of the surgeons, who undoubtedly saved her life.
“This was a relentless and horrifying assault upon her. It was ferocious.”
Judge Statman said Shannon’s view was only part of the equation and he had to perform an important task for the public as a whole.
Public concern about knife crime had resulted in a rise in length of sentences.
“I am completely satisfied this is a case of serious and long-term physical or psychological harm,” he continued. “I was able to observe myself some of the injuries she sustained.
“Each day your victim gets up in the morning and looks down at her body, she can see and will have the rest of her life that which you did to her.
“I am completely satisfied to set about your wife in the way you did in the matrimonial home constitutes the gravest breach of trust one can possibly imagine.”
Barnard showed no emotion as he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and will serve half before he is released. He blew a kiss to his wife as he was taken to the cells.