A councillor has opened up about how aged 12 he tried to protect his mum from a violent attack by stabbing her abusive boyfriend.
Ryan Houghton, the Scottish Conservatives’ group leader in Aberdeen, revealed his childhood experience on Twitter.
He said he wanted to write about the event having read about others who have gone through trauma or adverse childhood experiences and felt encouraged to recognise its impact.
Detailing the experience, Houghton explained that his mum had started dating a man who was a drug user and low level dealer and that they would occasionally argue.
“When I was 12 we were living in a flat, my sister had moved it out and it was my younger brother (three) my mum and I,” he wrote.
“We had moved up to the north east from the Central Belt after my grandad passed away and it was a new start after a rough few years.
“After some time Mum was dating a man- let’s call him Martin. Everything started off well, as a teenage boy, having a ‘man’ in the house was cool.
“My own dad was gone long before I was walking , so having someone to chat to about guy things was a nice change.
“Martin was a drug user and low level dealer but at the time that wasn’t something that really registered as an issue to teenage me.
“Not long after they were dating, there would be the occasional argument. Nothing beyond what was perceptively normal.
“Shouting matches about money, drugs and who had said what to who on nights out that kinda thing.
“It would get heated from time to time but one of them would go out for a drive and they’d make up. After a few months it started to change.
“There was tension about a lot of things I won’t go into today but suffice to say it was moving beyond a shouting match to throwing things and slamming doors.”
Houghton told how on one evening, his mum’s boyfriend dragged her into the living room and started to attack her.
“One November evening we were having a night in the house, the four of us. I remember setting the table,” he said.
“Before dinner Martin had come back home and had gone into the kitchen to talk with Mum about something while my brother and I were in the living room watching TV.
“Voices from next door had gone suddenly quiet, the next thing I knew there was a thud and my mum was screaming.
“He dragged her into the living room knocking me to the side and proceeded to start attacking her furiously.
“At the time my mum had had her accident and was on crutches for the rest of her life, so her ability to move was restricted.
“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 rushed forward to push him off he knocked me away and then proceeded to drag her through to her bedroom which was linked to the living room.
“I chased them through and tried again to get him to stop ,throwing whatever I was able to get my hands on , jumping at him hitting his head, again to no affect. He’d thump me back and I’d be knocked to the floor.”
Houghton then explained how he stabbed his mum’s boyfriend in the side in an attempt to save his mum.
He continued: “At this point he was mounted on top of her and just screaming and shouting as he laid into her she was trying to protect her head and push him off but was getting overwhelmed and less able to push back.
“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.
“He got up and stumbled in an almost stupor like fashion and stumbled to the door as my mum tried to move up and over to my brother and I.
“The police arrived and found Martin nearby the flat, arrested him and took him to hospital. I was arrested too and charged I believe.
“Originally just to the local police station but then Craiginches the former prison in Aberdeen to have from what I can remember was blood and fingerprints done.
“I spent the night back at the local police station, eventually and was collected the next morning as my mum was released too. My solicitor spoke with the PF and self-defence was accepted and I wasn’t required to go to court.
Houghton explained that in 2020, he attempted to find out what happened and why ‘Martin’ never went to jail.
“It wasn’t long before Martin was back in our lives, with a promise nothing like that would happen again. And it didn’t to the same degree but he was still quick to use his fists until he finally left months later,” he said.
“In 2020 I called the local court to find out what had happened back then. Why he never went to jail.
“The court staff couldn’t tell me much but only that it looked like the victim (mum) hadn’t wanted to take it further and wouldn’t cooperate with the PF.
“Giving a statement that it was both their faults and some other details I can’t really remember. 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 added: “Children are now considered as ‘experiencing’ abuse domestic abuse then 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. Anyway that’s what I wanted to get off my chest.”