A COCAINE addict armed with a knife has been jailed after attacking a woman and her young daughter leaving them terrified.

During the horrific incident, which began with Stephen Farrell putting his hands around the throat of the sleeping child, he repeatedly stabbed her mum and even tried to strangle her using her own long hair.

She thought he was going to kill her and fearing that he would then also kill her daughter, who witnessed the whole incident, 'that gave her the strength to fight back and take the knife off him'.

Despite pouring with blood from her multiple injuries she eventually managed to bring the sustained assault to an end by grabbing Farrell’s 'privates', Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Jailing him for eight years and eight months, a judge ruled that he is a dangerous offender and imposed an extended licence of three years, four months.

“The events in my judgement were a mother’s worst nightmare,” said Judge David Aubrey, QC.

He said that the impact and effect on the two victims was devastating 'and they are and will remain mentally and physically scarred'.

The judge said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons and has since had counselling after suffering panic attacks, stress and low mood, had thought 'this was it, my time was up and I was going to die'.

In an impact statement the mum said she worries about the long term effect on her child and the attack has also devastated her family and friends.

Thirty-two-year-old Farrell, a builder, of Upton Road, Moreton, Wirral, who appeared at Liverpool Crown Court today (Tuesday) via video link from prison, had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and common assault. The judge imposed a lifetime restraining order to keep away from his victims.

Ben Jones, prosecuting, said on the night of the incident the  child had awoken to find Farrell in her room with his hands tightly gripping her neck and saw he had no clothes on his lower half.

When her mum walked into the room Farrell, who had been sitting on the bed, turned his attention to her and the child saw he 'was really trying to hurt my mum'. 

Her mum told her to run to a neighbour’s for help but Farrell pushed her daughter backwards and she banged her head on a shelf.

Mr Jones said the injuries the woman suffered, some of them defensive wounds, indicated up to seven blows with the knife.

“She only realised that a knife was being used at the point where the chest injury occurred," he said.

"She describes her thoughts as being that her life was flashing before her eyes but her principal concern was the prospect of her daughter directly witnessing her mother being murdered. 

“She describes thinking that the incident 'wasn’t real'. She kept asking him '“what are you doing?' but never got any verbal response let alone any rational response.” 

The terrified woman eventually managed to disarm him and kicked the weapon, which had a 6in blade, under her daughter’s bed but the attack continued.

 “He placed her in a headlock with his hands over her mouth and nose. She bit his arm to free herself and was then dragged backwards by her hair down towards her daughter’s bed," added Mr Jones.

He then began wrapping her long hair around her neck and he pinned her against her daughter’s bed, holding his hand over her face.

Mr Jones said the incident only ended after she 'grabbed his privates' and he then left the room and she was able to lock it and summon help. 

When police arrived they found 'copious' amounts of blood around the premises and the woman bleeding heavily. Farrell, who had taken cocaine that night, was sitting in the lounge, now fully dressed, with his palms upwards and another knife, a bread knife, next to him.

The victim, who has not yet been able to work, was found to have wounds to her left arm, back chest wall, right foot, both thighs and middle and ring fingers on her left hand.

She told the court 'we are both mentally scarred and I am physically scarred. The effect has been devastating for me and my daughter and will stay with us for the rest of our lives'.

David Birrell, defending, said Farrell, who has no similar convictions, 'has no recollection of the incident'.

His letter to the court showed genuine remorse and while in custody he has taken steps to address his addiction to drink and drugs and offending behaviour. Mr Birrell said he was a hard working man but suffers from depression and paranoia.

Ruling that Farrell represents a significant risk of causing serious harm, Judge Aubrey jailed him and pointed out that a psychiatric report shows that he remains paranoid and has been hearing voices in prison commanding him to self-harm.

“No expert has been able to give an opinion or say why this occurred in the context it occurred and the nature and severity,” he added.