Mum admits to stabbing sister in heated family fight

"I'VE learned to love my family, not hurt them."

It was the tearful confession Lesley Fay Purcell made to an Ipswich court during sentencing for stabbing her sister in the chest with a kitchen knife.

"I've learnt my lesson not to hurt anyone in my family, I have learnt it is more important to love them than to hurt them," she said in court on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old mum of six was visiting her sister and family at Cunnamulla in August 2016 when a family dispute erupted and she was made to feel unwelcome.

Ipswich District Court heard Purcell "felt her family had turned on her". She threatened to "knife" her family before she rushed into the house, grabbed two cooking knives from the kitchen and re-joined the dispute in the back yard, brandishing the weapons.

Purcell's sister tried to knock the knives from her hand by hitting her in the arm with a cricked bat, but Purcell stabbed her sister under the left armpit. Purcell ran away.

The knife entered her sister's chest cavity and pierced her heart and lung.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said Purcell's criminal history was not unlike other indigenous Australians.

Judge Horneman-Wren said Purcell was introduced to alcohol when she was nine and had her first child when she was 16. She had a past marred by violence and homelessness.

Judge Horneman-Wren said Purcell's sister's injuries demonstrated how close the knife came to killing her.

"You told police you didn't intend on dong this injury to your sister," he said.

"Taking the knife outside was impulsive but you did go inside and arm yourself with those knives and go back outside."

Purcell pleaded guilty to five charges including wilful damage, grievous bodily harm and assault.

She was sentenced to four years imprisonment suspended after 451 days for four years, two years probation and 40 hours community service.

Judge Horneman-Wren declared 451 days pre-sentence custody as time already served.

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