Toronto Star

Sep. 30, 09:36 EDT

Two years of house arrest for knife attack on husband

Toronto Star

GUELPH -A Guelph woman who repeatedly stabbed her husband more than two years ago was sentenced Monday to two years less a day, but will be allowed to do her time in the community under tight restrictions.

Ethel Glendinning, now 68, had been charged with attempted murder in connection with the attack on her husband Ian, but in May pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault. The man was stabbed five times with a kitchen knife inside the couple's Fergus home on July 16, 2000.

Two days earlier Ethel Glendinning had driven to London to look for her husband, who went there July 11 claiming he had work to do. He was inside another woman's apartment.

When the sentencing hearing began in July, Ian Glendinning admitted he repeatedly cheated on his wife during their 31-year marriage. He denied he was having an affair when his wife found him in London, but conceded he now lives with that same woman.

Also in July, the couple's son Brian, 33, testified he left the family home at 15 after an argument with his father and has been largely estranged from the man since then.

Brian Glendinning described several occasions when his father abused him and said he also saw Ian Glendinning abuse his wife and other children.

Eventually, Brian said, it got so bad he would pray that his father wasn't home when he got back from school.

Ian Glendinning told the court his wife was the abusive one, regularly hitting and demeaning him. He described being struck with a hammer and baseball bat, and under cross-examination claimed he had been stabbed by his wife once before.

He was unable to give the court any idea when these alleged incidents took place and said he never called the police.

In a recording of the 911 call placed by the accused, Ethel Glendinning can be heard saying she stabbed her husband and asking the dispatcher, "How much abuse can you take from somebody?"

Justice Cas Herold said while the assault on Ian Glendinning was unquestionably serious and could have proved life-threatening, the accused to that point "was very much a victim of emotional and psychological abuse."

He noted Ian Glendinning gave his evidence "in a surprisingly glib manner" and it was obvious he did not appreciate the effect of his conduct on his wife and children.

After serving the sentence, Ethel Glendinning will be on probation for three years. She was ordered as part of her sentence to complete 200 hours of community service, and said outside the court she may try to use some of that to help other abused women.

She said she had substantial help from the Elizabeth Fry Society and Women In Crisis and hopes to help other women.

Defence counsel David Smith said the sentence was appropriate given the unusual circumstances of the case.

"It was a well thought-out decision by the court and there was a lot of strong evidence to support it," he said.

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