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‘I stabbed him in the side’: Councillor Ryan Houghton describes moment he tried to save his mum from abusive boyfriend

Council finance convener Ryan Houghton said he was "looking forward" to reviewing how the council is run with members of all parties in the new year.
Aberdeen Council's finance convener Ryan Houghton opens up about traumatic childhood experience to raise awareness about domestic abuse.

Aberdeen City Council’s finance convener has revealed he stabbed his mother’s boyfriend to stop his “furious punches”.

In a thread on Twitter, Mr Houghton opened up about the traumatic childhood experience to highlight how “common” domestic abuse is – and the impact it has on victims.

He said he felt “encouraged” to “get it off his chest” after fellow politicians recently shared their own experiences of abuse.

It comes just days after Banffshire and Buchan MSP Karen Adam used her own experiences to try and change perceptions about who in society may be sexual abusers.

“I grabbed a small knife from the kitchen and seeing my mum’s face being turned into a pulp I stabbed him in the side.”

Ryan Houghton

Childhood trauma ‘far more common than we like to admit’

Mr Houghton described how his mother’s boyfriend “Martin” had becoming increasingly abusive towards her, saying it often went “beyond a shouting match to throwing things and slamming doors”.

He posted: “I was going to write this last year but hesitated and left it. I’m typically quite a private person and don’t typically talk about my own life on social media.

“However I’ve found that reading from other people who have gone through trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) open up about it I feel that bit more encouraged to write it out and recognise its impact. It is far more common than we like to admit.

“Not just for me but also other people who had similar experiences as there is something intangibly valuable (maybe therapeutic). The more we know the more we can recognise, reflect and help those who are at risk now.”

Mr Houghton claimed that one night Martin attacked his mother until her “face turned into a pulp”.

Then 12, Mr Houghton – who was in the house with his young brother – grabbed a small knife and stabbed Martin in the side to stop the “furious” punches he was throwing.

Adding that his mother relied on crutches following an accident, he alleged: “He dragged her into the living room knocking me to the side and proceeded to start attacking her furiously.

“She tried to block him off with her crutch but it was little use. I called the police from the landline and a family friend who lived nearby both could hear the screaming in the background.

“The punching continued as he held her down on the couch.”

“I grabbed a small knife from the kitchen and seeing my mum’s face being turned into a pulp I stabbed him in the side. This caused him to pause and shout. Swearing at my mum that I had stabbed him. My mum only making mumbling crying sounds.”

No convictions

Following the incident, the family were taken to the station and gave a statement.

Mr Houghton was not prosecuted on the grounds he stabbed Martin in self-defence – but he claims has also recently learned that the attacker was also not convicted, as his mother didn’t want to take it further.

“It’s over 17 years since this happened and both the law and attitudes have changed a lot when it comes to domestic abuse,” he said.

“Children are now considered as ‘experiencing’ abuse domestic abuse than simply ‘witnessing it’ as the law used to be.

“I find it difficult to explain the impact this and other related events had on my later life but it’s certainly given me a knowledge of what its like for kids who undergo ACEs.”

Mr Houghton has been contacted for comment.


Help is available to any adult or child suffering abuse.

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