St Albans knifeman cleared of attempted murder

A TEENAGE knifeman who repeatedly stabbed a woman walking home through St Albans late at night has been cleared of attempted murder.

Shane Simmonds waved his arms like an “orangutan” when he attacked the woman in a case of mistaken identity as she walked through Alma Cut late on October 4 last year.

The 18-year-old, previously of Artisan Crescent, St Albans, denied attempted murder and was found not guilty of the charge by a jury today (Thursday) after his defence claimed that, although he carried out the attack, it was not his intention to murder the victim.

But Simmonds, who now lives in Brandon Road, Thetford, Norfolk, had earlier admitted a lesser charge of grievous bodily harm with intent, for which he will be sentenced at a later date.

Giving evidence behind a screen at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday, the 44-year-old victim said: “He was swinging his arms like an orangutan. He was hitting me and hitting me. He was on top of me and I was trying to hold him off with my walking stick. He was making groaning noises.” It was only when Simmonds fled the scene that she realised she had a number of stab wounds.

The knife had passed from one side of her wrist through to the other and her injuries also included a slice into her cheek and stab wounds to her shoulder, upper left leg, lower right leg and to a breast.

Simmonds turned himself in to police within an hour of the attack and the court heard that he had been involved in a fight at a nearby pub and drunkenly stormed out before getting a knife from his flat and looking for the person responsible.

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Judge Stephen Gullick will sentence Simmonds for wounding with intent on June 3 after reports have been prepared.