Father who threatened family jailed

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A FATHER who held a knife centimetres away from his two young children has been jailed for two years.

Ian Cunniff, 30, also threatened to kill his partner and assaulted her as she tried to protect their children – one aged just 15 weeks and the other 16 months.

Cunniff, a dispensing chemist, appeared before York Crown Court for sentencing on three previously admitted charges of making a threat to kill and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Howard Shaw, prosecuting, told how on the afternoon of March 31 this year, Cunniff had left the family home in Dean Road, Scarborough, to go out drinking with a friend.

While he was out his partner was taken ill, but she resisted calling him until around 11pm that night.

Her call was met with abuse and then, shortly after midnight, a drunk Cunniff returned home, making allegations and threats, before picking up a kitchen knife and began making stabbing motions towards his partner.

As she tried to get the knife from Cunniff, she was pushed, verbally abused and, the court heard, in fear that she was going to be killed.

It was then that Cunniff turned his attention to the children, threatening first to do harm to his 15-week-old daughter and, when stopped by his partner, then went to the cot of his son, holding the knife just 30cm away from the child and making stabbing motions.

She managed to grab the child and hold him in her arms to protect him, causing Cunniff to return to the lounge where his daughter was in a rocker, again holding the knife close to the child.

Again she managed to get to the child, but not before a bone in her foot was fractured as she tried to stop her partner shutting the lounge door on her.

Cunniff grabbed the baby from her arms and it was then that she called the police.

The court heard the events have left the woman in plaster and suffering from emotional and psychological problems.