Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 18:52 UK

Girl saves mother in knife attack

A 12-year-old girl saved her mother's life by disarming her knife-wielding father at their County Durham home.

John Mayhew, 49, had already stabbed his ex-wife, Ailsa, three times when his daughter, Rebecca, jumped on his back, causing him to drop the weapon.

Durham Police are now considering recommending the schoolgirl, who was cut in the rescue, for a bravery award.

Mayhew, of Barnard Castle, was jailed for 12-years after admitting attempted murder at Teesside Crown Court.

But for the quite remarkable bravery and persistent courage of your daughter you would be sentenced for murder
Judge Peter Fox QC

The youngster dragged her father off her mother by jumping on his back and covering his nose and mouth to stop him breathing, the court heard.

He dropped the filleting knife and she threw it out into the yard.

As her badly injured mother struggled free, her father reached for another knife in a kitchen drawer and the girl slammed it shut, trapping his hand.

They escaped to a neighbour's home where her 45-year-old mother collapsed unconscious with chest wounds.

Mayhew, of Bridge Street, carried out the attack on 17 November because of jealousy stirred up by the couple's divorce, the court was told.

Judge Peter Fox QC, passing sentence, said: "But for the quite remarkable bravery and persistent courage and determination of your daughter, who undoubtedly saved her mother's life, you would today be sentenced for murder".

Durham Police said Mrs Mayhew had recovered without any long-term injuries.

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