Internet lover tells court of shock arrest over murder bid

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The Independent Online

A man whose internet girlfriend allegedly tried to kill her husband told a court today he was "taken aback" when he was arrested for the same offence just an hour after meeting her for the first time.

Joanne Hale, 39, allegedly lured her husband Peter into woodland on a promise of sex, only to stab him and abandon him while she went to meet her internet lover, Bristol Crown Court previously heard.

Hale blindfolded Mr Hale at their home in Hawksmoor Lane, Bristol, and gave him an aphrodisiac called horny goat weed to get him in the mood for love, the jury was told.

But when the couple walked to woodland in Stoke Park, Bristol, and Mr Hale knelt down, his wife allegedly came up behind him, slit his throat with a knife and stabbed him in his neck and chest.

The court heard Hale then left her injured husband with a passer-by and went to Bristol Parkway station to pick up Phillip Sudol - a postal worker from Leeds whom she had met on the internet.

Today, Mr Sudol spoke of his shock when the couple pulled up to her home to find "coppers everywhere".

He said: "The first thing I saw was an ambulance. As we got closer to the house there was more and more police. I asked Joanne what she had done - she replied she hadn't done anything."

He went on: "She got out of the car, and I was leant with my hands on top of the car. I heard the police say there had been some sort of incident, and she had been accused of being involved with that incident and they arrested her on attempted murder.

"A couple of minutes later someone come over and arrested me as an attempted murderer - I was quite taken aback by that. I'd been in Bristol for an hour, maybe less."

Mr Sudol was released without charge following the incident.

Mr Hale suffered a 12cm (4.5in) slash to his throat before he was stabbed several more times, including an almost fatal 2cm deep (0.75in) wound to his chest, the court heard.

A statement from Pc Craig Davies, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, was read to the court by prosecutor Michael Cullum.

It said Hale told police her husband had threatened to slit his own throat.

The statement said: "She appeared badly shocked and surprised by the police activity. She asked what was going on.

"She said 'I've had an argument with my ex; he was threatening to cut his own throat. I said to him I didn't want anything to do with it and left'."

A statement from Christopher Armstrong, the consultant surgeon who treated Mr Hale, said "he was close to death" and was held in intensive care after emergency surgery.

Hale denies attempted murder as well as wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on December 27 last year.

The case continues.