Harpenden pensioner is jailed after horror knife attack on son-in-law

PUBLISHED: 18:59 10 November 2014

Court report

Court report


A pensioner who slit his son-in-law’s throat with a kitchen knife then shouted “die you b******!” has been jailed for six years.

Rodney Cohen, 68, left Declan Campbell scarred for life following the unprovoked attack, which happened after they had been drinking lager together.

The victim thought Cohen was joking when he seized him in the living room of his home in Harpenden, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor David Stanton said: “He grabbed him by the neck and pulled his head back to stretch his neck. He then cut him across the throat with a kitchen knife.

“Mr Campbell, at first, thought he was joking.

“It was only when blood poured out he realised what had happened. He was scared he might die.”

The court heard the attack happened out of the blue after the two men had been to Sainsbury’s in the town to buy lager.

Cohen had travelled from his home in New Zealand to visit the country because his daughter’s marriage to Mr Campbell was reportedly on the rocks.

They had been drinking beer on the balcony of the St John’s Court property before Declan sat on the sofa.

He began clicking through TC channels when he was suddenly attacked by Cohen who had taken a knife from the kitchen.

Mr Campbell was taken to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital where he received stitches to a 10cm cut across the front of his neck. He also had a small cut to his middle finger.

When Cohen was arrested he told police: “I am sorry. I saw the knife and picked it up and sliced it across his throat.”

In a victim impact statement Mr Campbell said his life had been ruined, but he was willing to forgive his father-in-law.

Cohen, of St John’s Court, Harpenden, appeared at St Albans crown court for sentence having pleaded guilty to wounding Mr Campbell with intent on July 26 this year.

Sean Smith, defending, said Cohen was of previous good character and had left the UK when he was 19 to work in Australia and New Zealand.

He handed the judge a “glowing reference” from a former employer who knew about the court case and said Cohen had given full and frank admissions to the police and been honest and candid with probation officers. “Mr Cohen knows he should not have acted in the way he did. There was clearly a grievance. There was an absence of pre-meditation,” he said.

Mr Smith argued that Cohen was not guilty of the most serious form of wounding with intent because the injury was not life-threatening and he did not damaged any organs.

Judge Stephen Gullick told Cohen: “It was fortunate no internal organs were damaged. That was through luck rather than judgement. Your son-in-law has been left with a permanent scar that will be visible for the rest of his life.”

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