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A mum and son have been jailed for attacking a woman for revenge after a burglary their Borehamwood house.
The pair were incensed after the family home was broken into and a safe containing cash and sentimental items of jewellery were stolen.
But days later when they confronted the mother of the person they thought responsible, she was stabbed as she sat in her car with two young children on the back seat.
Tracey McCarthy, 45, and her son Jamie, 22, appeared in the dock today at St Albans crown court.
The mother admitted an offence of affray while her son pleaded to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and having an offensive weapon.
Matthew Banham prosecuting said "This is a case of a family who thought they could take the law into their own hands. They had a reputation to keep up and one they thought demanded respect from the community."
He added "They dished out this form of vigilante violence."
The court was told on Friday 13th April last year the McCarthy family reported a break into police at their home in Cowley Hill in Borehamwood.
They supplied CCTV pictures from their property which they thought could identify those they thought responsible.
Mr Banham said the McCarthy's gave police the name of a young man they thought had burgled their property and taken a safe which contained jewellery and £6000 in cash.
Judge John Plumstead hearing the case was told over the weekend the mother of the man heard the McCarthys were looking for him.
On the Monday morning when police rang the McCarthy home to update them on progress, Mrs McCarthy told an officer the family of the man they suspected were "scum."
During the call the mother said "They don't know who we are, they don't realise they have burgled the McCarthy family."
The court was told the mother was particularly upset because taken in the break in had been items of jewellery that had belonged to her baby that died in 2000.
Mr Banham said the mother was advised that her family should not take the law into their own hands and police were looking for the man they had put forward.
Later that morning Mrs McCarthy and and her son Jamie drove into Buckingham Road in Borehamwood as stepped up their own search for the the suspect ans their missing property.
The court heard they had called at a house in the road when the mother of the man they had named to police pulled up on a the driveway in her car.
She had two young children on the back seat but it didn't stop Tracey McCarthy launching into a tirade of abuse
As she sat in the vehicle Jamie who was armed with a large carving knife, stabbed her twice in the upper chest under her left arm.
The mother and son fled the scene but later gave themselves up to police later that day.
By then the son had got rid of the knife which has never been found.
The prosecutor said "She was interviewed and said they were doing their civic duty by going round there."
Judge Plumstead was told the victim had lost the feeling in her shoulder because of the injuries she sustained. In addition she was now frightened to leave her home. Her daughter who had witnessed the attack had also suffered bad dreams and bed wetting.
Shaun Wallace for the son said he now felt genuine remorse for what he's done.
Lesley Masnley for the mother said "She realises she should have been more of a guiding influence for her son."
Passing said the judge told the pair "This is a case of ghastly and frightening violence"
He said the mother had been behind a series of lurid threats and had sort retribution.
"The police told her not to go and seek retribution so she was warned," he said.
But he added "She set out on an expedition intended to lead to a confrontation" in which the victim had been "cornered"
He jailed the son for nine years and his mother who has two other young children, for 18 months.
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