New Brunswick

Moncton woman sent to prison after slitting former partner's throat

A Moncton woman was sentenced Monday to 4½ years in prison for slitting her former partner's throat last year. Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Walsh said the crime happened in the context of a "toxic" relationship.

Clare Elizabeth Gallagher says she regrets what happened

Clare Elizabeth Gallagher, centre, shown here leaving the Moncton courthouse in October, said she regretted the attack and was prepared for whatever sentence the court ordered. (Shane Magee/CBC)

A Moncton woman was sentenced Monday to 4½ years in prison for slitting her former partner's throat last year.

Clare Elizabeth Gallagher, 57, was charged with the attempted murder of Rhonda Lynn Aubin as well as forcible confinement, assault and uttering death threats against Aubin on March 12, 2019.

Gallagher pleaded guilty to confinement and aggravated assault in October. She was sentenced Monday afternoon in Moncton. 

Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Walsh said the crime happened in the context of a "toxic" relationship between Gallagher and Aubin. 

"It was only by great luck, not good management, that Aubin was not killed," Walsh said, calling the neck wound "gruesome."

While Gallagher and Aubin had not been in a relationship since 2011, they continued to live together.

The judge called that March day an important one for Gallagher because she just got a job at a bank.

The two had started drinking during the day. Gallagher lay down for a while and Aubin cooked supper, according to an agreed statement of facts read in October.

When Gallagher got up, Aubin was in the living room. Gallagher came out of the kitchen with a knife and cut Aubin's throat. 

The cut missed vital arteries. Aubin used her shirt to cover the wound and tried to escape, but Gallagher blocked her.

Aubin eventually got out of the apartment and went to the door of a neighbour, who called for help.

"The toxic nature of their earlier relationship surfaced and was the trigger for eruption of long pent-up hostility," Walsh said. 

Gallagher was scheduled to stand trial by judge and jury this fall but pleaded guilty. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

Gallagher told the judge that what happened in their relationship before that day in March doesn't excuse her actions and she regrets what happened. 

"I'm not excusing my actions," Gallagher told the judge. "I'm ready to face sentencing as you see fit."

The judge was told Aubin wanted to be in court to read a victim impact statement but wasn't able to attend Monday.

Crown Prosecutor Malika Levesque said Aubin was left with a scar and was affected psychologically. 

Defence lawyer Annie Maltais said a pre-sentence report, used by the court to relay information about an offender, indicates police were called several times through Aubin and Gallagher's relationship.

The judge said Gallagher left the relationship multiple times but was "manipulated" by Aubin to return.

Plea averted trial

Gallagher was set to stand trial by judge and jury in October before she pleaded guilty.

The Crown and defence had presented a joint recommendation for sentencing that the judge accepted. 

Walsh said it's unlikely she would reoffend. 

She was given 18 months credit for time already spent in custody prior to sentencing, leaving her with about three years to serve in prison. 

She was led away by sheriffs after hugging another woman in the public gallery.