Student jailed for killing boyfriend

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A sixth-former who fatally stabbed her boyfriend in the heart hours after collecting her A-level results was jailed for five years today for his manslaughter.

Katherine McGrath, 19, plunged a steak knife into the heart of Alyn Thomas, 22, during an argument after a night out drinking with friends.

McGrath, of Brackla, Bridgend, South Wales, was cleared of murder following a trial earlier this month but found guilty of manslaughter.

Sentencing her at Cardiff Crown Court to five years in a young offenders' institution, Mr Justice Griffith Williams said: "Only you know what actually happened in the kitchen of your home but of this I am sure: the jury did not hear the whole truth."

The judge added: "Clearly you and Alyn Thomas rowed. Whatever the trigger or the cause of that row, my view is that he was not the only one to act aggressively.

"I accept that you did not intend to kill or cause him really serious injury and I am prepared to accept that you were provoked in the non-legal sense."

He told McGrath that arming herself with a knife was an overreaction and said: "You took the life of a young man.

"You deprived his parents, his family and his friends of their part in his life and of the chance to share in his future."

Mr Thomas, of Cymmer, near Neath, died in hospital after being stabbed in the kitchen of McGrath's detached family home in the early hours of August 21 last year.

In an impact statement he read out in court, Stephen Thomas, the victim's father, said: "It is a parent's worst fear - receiving a phone call in the early hours of the morning saying that your child has been admitted to hospital, but then to be told that your child has been stabbed, it turns into a living nightmare.

"I shall never forget walking into the relative room at Bridgend Hospital and having Lynne (Mr Thomas's mother) greeting me by screaming 'He's dead' and then breaking down in floods of tears."

He said the loss of their son had devastated his family and added: "I could not imagine the pain I had to experience when I was having to choose flowers and hymns for a funeral service and having to choose clothes to dress Alyn in his coffin rather than having the honour of taking him shopping for a suit for his wedding."

During the trial the jury heard McGrath's 999 call in which she told the operator: "He's my boyfriend and he, like, came and attacked me and I didn't know what to do."

She also told the operator he pushed her to the floor and spat at her and tried to hit her.

John Charles Rees QC, defending, said McGrath produced the knife to scare off Mr Thomas when he became aggressive and she had not meant to hurt him.

At the sentencing today he said it was "self-defence gone too far".