'He's lucky to be alive': five years’ jail for mother who stabbed her ex-lover

JUSTICE SERVED: Victim Peter MacQueen said he is satisfied justice has been done with the sentencing of his former lover Margaret Offner to prison.
JUSTICE SERVED: Victim Peter MacQueen said he is satisfied justice has been done with the sentencing of his former lover Margaret Offner to prison.

MOTHER of six Margaret Offner, 54, was jailed on Friday for five years with a non-parole period of two and a half years for stabbing her former lover Peter MacQueen in the stomach at Spring Hill in December 2012.

In Bathurst District Court, Offner’s family were given permission to go to the dock after the accused was sentenced where they said a tearful goodbye after Offner sat emotionless throughout the sentencing hearing.

At the start of yesterday’s sentencing hearing Mr MacQueen gave a victim impact statement saying the injuries inflicted by Offner had also left a deep physical and emotional impact on himself and his family, and in particular his son who witnessed the attack in his lounge room from just a metre away.

In sentencing Offner Judge Andrew Haesler said he took into account the volatile nature of the couple’s relationship which had included incidents of violence and the over consumption of alcohol since 2009, and the psychological reports on Offner carried out since her arrest giving an insight into the relationship.

“She had formed what is described as a traumatic attachment to him,” Judge Haesler said.

He said Offner’s significant problem with alcohol abuse produced a vulnerability and she was shattered when Mr MacQueen ended the relationship.

However he said it was no excuse for the degree of violence which followed and it continues to have a profound impact on Mr MacQueen who has ongoing health issues following his injury.

“He is lucky to be alive,” Judge Haesler said.

The court heard after Mr MacQueen had sent a text to Offner ending their relationship the day before the stabbing, she drove to the victim’s house in Spring Hill to confront him.

After being turned away, she returned to her Phillip Street home and after a night of heavy drinking during which she sent 30 texts to the victim, she took a six-inch butcher’s boning knife and drove back to Mr MacQueen’s house intending to slash the tyres on his vehicles.

Instead she walked into the house and with the knife in her hand confronted Mr MacQueen.

“You can’t do this to me Peter,” she said.

When Mr MacQueen told Offner again the relationship was over she plunged the knife into his stomach.

He was rushed to Orange hospital where he underwent five hours of emergency surgery and remained in intensive care for week.

Mr MacQueen told the court he had to return to hospital after his initial recovery every day for three months to have his wound dressed and had to undergo further surgery with the potential for more in the future.

Judge Haesler said in sentencing Offner, who potentially could have gone to jail for 25 years, he took into account her previous good character.

“This was not a healthy relationship for both,” he said. 

Offner served three months in jail following the attack before being granted Supreme Court bail.

The couple met on the RSVP internet dating site.