A WOMAN who stabbed her partner and narrowly missed his heart before going on the run was today starting an 18-month prison sentence.

Romana Sowerby-Blain - who once had a promising career as a dancer, and made appearances on television shows - sobbed as she learned her fate.

The Northern Echo:

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HUNT: Armed police in the Denes area of Darlington after a man was stabbed

The 36-year-old Darlington woman was told by a judge: “I cannot, in a case this serious, contemplate suspending that sentence.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how Sowerby-Blain and Jamie Barker had been in a volatile seven-year relationship dogged by alcohol and violence.

The mother-of-one has a criminal record containing 20 offences, which include two sets of common assault, and a battery on Mr Barker in 2015.

In January, she knifed him in the chest after a drunken row at his home in the town’s Salisbury Terrace, phoned for an ambulance and fled from the scene.

The court heard how Mr Barker, 46 - said to be terrified of his former partner - suffered a collapsed lung and spent two days in hospital.

Judge Howard Crowson said: “The injury was very serious and could easily have been a great deal worse.

“Fortunately, treatment was swift.”

John Turner, mitigating, told the court how Sowerby-Blain left school with 12 GCSEs, gained two A-levels and attended Leeds Dance College.

“At 23, life seemed to offer a lot to her,” said Mr Turner. “She was in full-time work, which took her on to television performances on occasions.

“She was training other people in dance, then a number of problems seemed to overwhelm her . . . she turned to alcohol which led to the break up of the relationship with the father of her daughter.”

On the day of the stabbing, Sowerby-Blain and her new partner argued in Darlington town centre, and went their separate ways drinking.

The row erupted later that night after she returned home, and because she had been beaten up in the past, she picked up the knife and struck.

Judge Crowson told her: “His behaviour did not merit the use of a knife, and your behaviour exceeded anything which was reasonable.

“It seems to me your life has been blighted by alcohol dependence. Your relationship is characterised by both of you drinking excessively.

“She you are released back into the community, I hope you can take back the life you lost many years ago.”

Sowerby-Blain, of Hurworth Place, admitted a charge of unlawful wounding.

Mr Barker said in a statement. “What Romana has done to me has left me feeling upset and let-down. It has shaken me terribly. I’m in total shock.

“I was told by the doctors I was extremely lucky where the wound is. The incident has changed my perspective on life, and I take nothing for granted now.

“I am frightened of her now, and anxious generally. I am always checking who comes to the front door, and more conscious about who is outside, and checking over my shoulder.”