A LANDSCAPE gardener who threatened to kill his family and slashed his mother's arms after a heated argument at their home near Hereford has been jailed.

James Hughes, 24, had drunk seven or eight bottles of strong cider before getting a razor blade and cutting his mother's arms, Worcester Crown Court heard.

Prosecution barrister Alex Warren said a "heated argument" started when Hughes refused to give his sister her car keys, which he said was intended as a joke.

But then Hughes started staring at his sister, and when his mother told him to stop, he stared at her as well.

Mr Warren said Hughes began threatening to suffocate his sister in her sleep and then started saying "I'm going to kill you".

Scared, she left the house and Hughes went to his bedroom and found a razor blade. He then told his dad, woken up by the shouting: "I've got a knife and I'm going to kill you."


Hughes, who had been a self-employed landscape gardener and volunteer cameraman for Hereford FC, rang the police and told the call handler he was going to kill his mother, Mr Warren said.

He then used the razor to deeply cut his mother's right forearm, later also cutting her left arm and trying to cut her chest.

When police arrived at the family's home in Scotch Firs, Fownhope, they Tasered Hughes and arrested him.

Mr Warren said Hughes' mother had no long-lasting effects restricting the use of her arms, but was left with permanent scars and spent 17 hours in hospital after the attack on the evening of July 15.

In a statement to the court, his mother said she had "lost all motivation for life" since the attack, but her daughter was a reason to keep going.


His sister said she would never be able to live in the same house as her brother again.

Defence barrister Adam Western said Hughes had suffered with poor mental health for several years, and had spent time being treated at the Stonebow Unit in Hereford.

He said Hughes had no previous convictions and a psychiatric report suggested it was unlikely Hughes would have attacked his mother if he had not got emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Mr Western said Hughes had also pleaded guilty early, was remorseful and still relatively young.

In a letter to the judge, Hughes said he loved his mother, they were each other's best friends and he couldn't live without her.

Judge Nicholas Cartwright jailed Hughes for 32 months after he pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

He was also made the subject of a restraining order, stopping him from contacting his sister and attending the family's home without prior permission.

The judge said it was evident Hughes's mental health had been getting worse in the weeks leading up to the attack and he had not been taking medication correctly.

He was using alcohol to "self-medicate", the judge said, and was "heavily intoxicated" when he used the razor blade to cause a "slashing wound" to his mother's arm.