- Lee Rowlands tried to raise £2,000 a day for charity to win the competition
- But the strain got too much and he suffered a psychotic episode
- He stabbed fiancée Madelaine Moir in the breast, arm, fingers and knee
By Chris Brooke
PUBLISHED: 10:18 EST, 8 April 2013 | UPDATED: 05:07 EST, 9 April 2013
A man went berserk and stabbed his fiancée because of the stress of trying to win a £25,000 ‘dream wedding’ contest, a court heard yesterday.
Lee Rowlands and Madelaine Moir, both 37, were one of five couples in the competition final who were attempting to win the prize by raising the most money for charity in a week.
They were working 20 hours a day to try to raise the money when Rowlands suffered a ‘psychotic episode.’
He allegedly began hearing voices and attacked Miss Moir with two kitchen knives as she cowered on the floor.
Strain: Lee Rowlands, right, and his fiancée Madelaine Moir, he he attacked with two kitchen knives during a psychotic episode while desperately trying to win a radio competition for a 'Dream Wedding'
She was wounded on her breast, arm, fingers and knee and he ran into the street believing he had killed her, Sheffield Crown Court was told.
Yesterday Rowlands was jailed for 28 months after admitting unlawful wounding. He will be released in a few weeks because he has been in custody for 13 months and would have been automatically freed at the halfway point of his sentence.
Miss Moir is said to have stood by him and they still hope to get married. The couple had been together for two years before the attack on March 14 last year.
They entered the competition run by Sheffield-based independent radio station Hallam FM in the hope of winning the £25,000 wedding package, including a honeymoon in Sri Lanka, venue hire, dress, flowers and photographer. In her application Miss Moir wrote: ‘We wish we had met years ago, we love each other and want to shout it to the world.’
Stand by your man: Miss Moir arrives at Sheffield Crown Court to see Rowlands sentenced. The pair still hope to marry one day
Alison Dorrell, prosecuting, said the couple had a happy relationship and Rowlands had become the father figure to the divorcee’s two children.
But Miss Moir had noticed her partner’s heart beating irregularly and he began to speak about hearing voices. He also threatened to jump out of the window and harm himself.
During the 25-minute ‘episode’ Rowlands attacked his fiancée with two kitchen knives at their home in Armthorpe, Doncaster.
He then ran outside in his boxer shorts ‘saying he had killed her’. Rowlands was found by police sobbing in the street. Miss Dorrell said: ‘He was making no sense at all.’
Miss Moir needed hospital treatment and later had surgery on a finger injury. She said later she didn’t recognise the man who attacked her. ‘He wasn’t himself and she was of the view that he didn’t want to hurt her and he wasn’t thinking rationally,’ said Miss Dorrell. Miss Moir wrote in her victim statement: ‘We never argued. This is why I can’t say what happened. It is as if somebody else had taken over his body.’
The court heard she had helped turn Rowlands’ life around. He had served time in jail, and they entered the wedding contest because he was desperate to prove himself.
Richard Barradell, defending, said the couple aimed to raise £2,000 each a day to win the wedding prize. However, it became clear ‘things were getting to Lee Rowlands’. Mr Barradell said ‘something snapped’ and Rowlands had a ‘psychotic mental breakdown of rapid onset’.
‘He is desperately sorry for what he did. He can’t explain it.’
Judge Robert Moore said Rowlands had been receiving mental health treatment and his release in a few weeks under licence would enable him to continue his rehabilitation.
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