Mother, 51, is jailed for 14 years after stabbing her bingo night friend, 63, in the neck with a Stanley knife when she accused her of stealing their £4,000 winnings
- Paula Ayres stabbed her friend Julie Page twice in the neck and once in the back
- The confrontation occurred after Mrs Page, 63, said she suspected Ayres of theft
- Ayres stole £4,000 from Mrs Page, attacking her when she became suspicious
A mother has been jailed for 14 years for stabbing her bingo night friend who accused her of stealing £4,000.
Paula Ayres, 51, stabbed her friend Julie Page, 63, in the neck and back with a Stanley knife in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire, forcing her to play dead to get away.
The friends spent years sharing their winnings, with Mrs Page even giving her bank card to Ayres, who withdrew cash every Sunday when they went to play bingo.
But Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Ayres began plundering the account, leading to the nearly fatal confrontation.
Mrs Page told the court she believes Ayres overheard her on the phone to her sister earlier that day when she discussed her suspicions about who had taken the money.
Later, Ayres stabbed Mrs Page in the neck twice and five times in the back. Her ear was also ripped because her earring had been pulled out.
Paula Ayres, 51, from Hampshire, stabbed her friend Julie Page, 63, in the neck and back with a Stanley knife after a row over missing £4,000
Mrs Page believes bingo night friend Ayres attacked her after she overheard her discussing her suspicions about who took the missing money
Cardiff-born Mrs Page told the court she ‘played dead’ and Ayres left the house.
But Ayres was arrested soon after and police found she had put the Stanley knife in her washing machine to cover up the crime.
In court, Ayres claimed she had loaned cash to her friend on their bingo trips, but Mrs Page said: ‘I’ve never taken a penny off the woman.’
Traumatised Mrs Page opted to give evidence from behind a curtain in court – and said she ‘shocked’ when her friend of twenty years put her hands around her neck during the confrontation.
She told Porstmouth Crown Court: ‘I said to Paula, what’s wrong with you? Why are you doing this?’
Ayres, of Bishop’s Waltham admitted stealing nearly £4,000 and grievous bodily harm but denied attempted murder.
However, jurors found her guilty.
Ayres was arrested after police found she had put the Stanley knife in her washing machine to cover up the crime
Paul Casey, defending, told the court he could offer ‘no mitigation’ for the ‘extremely grave offence’.
Sentencing Ayres to 14 years in jail, Judge Roger Hetherington told how photographs of Mrs Page’s injuries showed ‘copious amounts of blood.’
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable John Duggan said: ‘This was a horrific assault on a vulnerable lady in her own home, by a woman who was supposed to have been a friend of some years.
‘It was intrinsically linked to the theft of nearly £4,000 from the victim’s bank account.
‘The severity of the offence is reflected by the sentence the judge has passed.’