A Highland League footballer who tried to kill his ex-lover in a “brutal and cowardly” attack has been jailed for more than nine years.
Richard Finnis pounced on the woman at her flat in Inverness in February.
The 31-year-old repeatedly stabbed the terrified mum with a two-pronged cheese knife.
Finnis yesterday returned to the High Court in Glasgow having earlier admitted an attempted murder charge.
He was locked up for nine years and three months.
Lord Mulholland paid tribute to his victim’s bravery while branding the attack on her “vicious and brutal”.
The judge said: “This was no spur of the moment act – you armed yourself with a fearsome weapon.
“It was your intention to do her serious harm. Your assault on a defenceless woman was cowardly in the extreme.
“She did nothing to merit what you did to her. She was lucky to survive.
“It is a testament to her courage and fortitude that this brave woman will not let what you did to her defeat her.”
Reacting to the sentencing yesterday, police described his actions as “horrific”.
Finnis did not look at his ex in court as he was led to the cells.
The court previously heard that the couple were together for six years before the woman ended the relationship days before Christmas last year.
Prosecutor Eoghainn MacLean said Finnis struggled to get over the separation, “inundating” her with phone calls and social media messages.
On February 15 – the night before the attack – the woman met a man during an evening out in Inverness.
Hours later, Finnis – who played for Strathspey Thistle – was spotted prowling near her flat.
Around 11.30am, the victim received a message from Finnis, indicating he knew about her night out.
Finnis was then spotted by neighbours approaching the flat armed with a nine-inch cheese knife.
His victim saw his shadow through the curtains of the patio door and then heard it being slid open as he came in.
She shouted at him to leave, but with the knife in his right hand, Finnis said: “You’ve driven me to this. I am going to kill you.”
The terrified woman tried to run, but he caught up and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck.
Mr MacLean told the court how the woman was now “fighting for her life” and, despite bleeding profusely, managed to run into the street screaming for help and banging on neighbours’ doors.
Finnis also left the flat and claimed he was going to kill himself.
The court heard she needed hours of surgery and was only able to leave hospital nearly two weeks later.
The hearing was told the ordeal has “changed her life”.
She is now dependent on her parents and has “recurring memories” of the attack.
Finnis was held on February 24 after an initial missing person’s inquiry.
A massive police search – involving sniffer dogs as well as a coastguard helicopter – found him living rough in woods in Inverness.
Shahid Latif, defending, yesterday said Finnis was “deeply sorry” for what happened.
Detective Inspector Eddie Ross said: “This was a horrific domestic assault where Richard Finnis controlled, stalked and ultimately brutally attacked his former partner and mother of their child within the safety of her own home.
“She was left with serious, life-changing injuries and the impact of what happened to her that day cannot be underestimated.
“Hopefully this conviction and the judge’s comments will provide a degree of closure, although clearly the effects of Finnis’s actions can never fully be undone.
“Finnis will now have to face the consequences of his horrendous conduct.”