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Gypsy wedding horror as bride is slashed on eve of big day

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 8:45 AM


DIMPLES MCPHEE has claimed her aunt cut her face so badly it 'fell off in her hands' the night before her nuptials.

Dimples McPhee pictured outside Hamilton Sheriff courtA SCOTS gypsy bride claims her aunt slashed her on the eve of her fairytale wedding.

Dimples McPhee, 18, said her face “fell off in her hands” after she was attacked with a Stanley knife, ripping her open from her hairline across her forehead and cheek to her earlobe.

And her mother, Anne Teresa McPhee, told the court: “Her face just fell off. Dimples’s face was off. I thought she was going to die.

“To see your child’s face torn off the night before her wedding is a pain no mother deserves to go through.”

Dimples added: “It felt like a sharp, hot sensation. My face felt like it was literally going to fall off on to the ground.”

The bride’s aunt, Philomena Doherty, 31, denies assaulting Dimples, her mother and another relative outside the McPhees’ home in Cleland, Lanarkshire.

Asked by prosecutor Emma Anderson: “Who did that to your daughter’s face?”, Anne looked directly at the accused and replied: “My sister, Philomena.”

Dimples said at first she believed she had only been scratched by her aunt’s engagement ring.

But then her sister Niome, 16, screamed: “Oh my God, we can see inside your bones and everything – we can see inside your face.”.

The five-inch gash on the young bride’s face was stapled by medics at Wishaw General Hospital.

And she spent what should have been her wedding morning having emergency plastic surgery to save her face at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Four days later, fearful that fiance John Connor would leave her because of her injuries, she discharged herself from hospital to go ahead with a delayed wedding, Hamilton Sheriff Court heard.

With the bride in constant agony and with blood from a stomach wound seeping through her dress, what should have been the happiest day of the young couple’s lives turned out to be “the wedding from hell”, she told the court.

In evidence, Doherty claimed that she had been “dragged around” by the hair outside the house by both Anne and Dimples.

She alleged that Anne’s husband, father of the bride Billy McPhee, had been responsible for the slashing.

But Anne, whose arms were slashed to the bone during the incident, rejected the claim when it was put to her by defence advocate Owen Mullan.

She claimed the trouble broke out after Doherty asked her husband why she had not been sent a wedding invitation.

She said she told Doherty family members were always welcome and did not need a written invitation.

Anne said: “Philomena got her case and went to the car to go to the hotel. She then said, ‘No’ and got out of the car. I knew she was coming in for trouble.”

“I hit her first on the door of the house on the head. She then grabbed me by my hair.

“She dragged me along the steps of our house – she was much too strong for me.

“She was dragging me along the ground and then I felt something digging in. I had my hand up to protect my face. I thought it was her fingernails.”

 

Dimples McPhee with her sister Niome and mother AnneDimples described Philomena wrestling with her mum after “skull-dragging” her across the driveway and lawn.

She told the court: “Mummy was lying on her back and Philomena was on top of her.

“My dad tried to separate them at the start but then we just thought, ‘It’s two sisters fighting.’ In the travelling community if people are having a fight you let them fight.

“I thought they’d make up after it and we’d be fine for the wedding the next day.

“Mummy shouted, ‘Your nails are digging into me.’ I was standing back thinking no way am I getting involved in this after I'd had my hair done that day.”

Dr Ravindra Kulkarnie, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, described an 8cm wound to the upper part of Anne’s left arm and a 15cm cut on the left forearm.

Of her mother’s injury, Dimples said: “I could just see white bone and skin flopping back and forth.

“It was like piranha fish had eaten her arm off.”

During Anne’s evidence, Mr Mullan asked her if memories are clearer immediately after an event rather than a year later.

She replied: “It’s a two-sided question. There’s things you don’t want to remember – when you’ve seen something bad, like the slashing of your daughter by your sister. That will stay with you until you die.

“When you see your child’s face ripped off, your eyes will never defeat you. I wish to God it would be a vision that would go away.”

Doherty insisted in evidence that she had been invited to the wedding and was in good spirits when she arrived at her sister’s house.

She told the court that Anne attacked her, adding: “She just went over, grabbed me by the hair and had me to the ground She was just saying, ‘You’re dead, you’re dead.’

“She was dragging me by the hair. Then Dimples had me by the side of the hair as well. They dragged me all around then towards the road.”

Doherty added that she then heard someone say: “Please, Billy, let me separate them’ and it was then that the stabbing took place. She said: “I couldn’t actually see him do the cuts. I just saw blood everywhere. I didn’t know if I’d been cut to bits. There was pools of blood coming down on me.”

 

Philomena Doherty pictured outside Hamilton Sheriff courtDoherty said she ran to a neighbour’s house and asked them to phone the police.

She said: “Before long I was arrested and that was it. I was riddled with blood from head to toe. I was in a bad state.”

She said she told police: “You’ve got the wrong person for this, it was Billy McPhee.”

And she told the court: “I told them over and over again. I would never hurt my sister like that or my nieces or nephews.”

The case continues.

 

Categories: Glasgow Violent crime

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