THE mother of a chronic alcoholic who stabbed her son in the chest had suffered years of torment, a court heard.

Jacqueline Bywater had looked after her son James through ‘thick and thin’ for years without realising the impact it was having on her own mental health.

The 58-year-old was originally charged with attempted murder after stabbing him in the chest but pleaded guilty to a the alternative charge of unlawful wounding at an earlier hearing.

Teesside Crown Court heard that 37-year-old James has since died but his tragic death had nothing to do with his mother’s actions but simply as a result of his alcoholism.

Bywater, of Westfield Court, Redcar, left the court room in tears after Judge Stephen Ashurst sentenced her to 12-months in custody suspended for 18-months.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Bywater’s other son found her in the kitchen covered in blood following the attack on June 1 this year.

“She had stabbed her son and herself, and as a result, the emergency services were called,” she said. “He was taken to James Cook University Hospital for treatment to knife wound to his chest and a cut to his stomach.”

The court heard that Bywater had spent years looking after he son as he struggled with alcohol and drug addiction whilst also being treated for anxiety and depression herself.

In mitigation, Zahra Baqri, said: “It is clear her son struggled with addiction of alcohol and drugs over a number of years. The defendant did everything to help him, she was a dedicated mother, so much so that she never allowed anytime for herself.”

On the day of the attack, Miss Baqri said: “She knew that he was killing himself with alcohol and proceeded to do what she did before using the knife to cut her own arms. She told doctors that she just wanted to frighten her son in desperate attempt to make him stop drinking.”

Bywater had been remanded in custody for several weeks before being released on bail after pleading guilty to unlawful wounding.

Judge Stephen Ashurst told the defendant did not intend to return her to custody.

He said: “You were quite simply unable to cope with his behaviour – it was not only erratic and complicated by his addiction to drink, he presented problems at home that you found impossible to deal with.

“You stuck with James through thick and thin.

“You took a knife to James at a time when your levels of despair were particularly high – you didn’t intend to kill him. You bitterly regret picking up the knife and the wound were not particularly serious.”

A formal verdict of not guilty was recorded against the attempted murder charge.