Man jailed for attempted murder of wife - Watford

15/12/2015

A husband, who thrust a kitchen knife deep into his wife's body before stabbing her again in the back, was jailed for 11 years today, Tuesday, 15 December 2015, for her attempted murder.

Dorinel Cojanu, aged 30, attacked his wife Daniela, aged 28, in the kitchen of their home in Lingmoor Drive, Watford on Tuesday, 16 June this year.

The brown-handled kitchen knife, with an 8-inch blade, went down through Daniela's right breast, passed through 2 ribs, through a lung and into her liver. The mother-of-three bent forward and was stabbed again just under her left shoulder blade. She has been left with permanent scars. After she ran screaming from the house, a neighbour called an ambulance and she was rushed to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

Romanian, Cojanu, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, but was convicted by the jury at St Albans Crown Court earlier this month.

The couple came to the UK from Romania in June of 2014. Giving evidence, the wife said they struggled financially and her husband started drinking. At the time of the stabbing, it was estimated that he was three times over the drink drive limit. She said: "He did not treat me well. No matter what the problem would be, it would always be my fault. It went beyond argument. He would hit me or we would have arguments because of the financial difficulties and because he was spending a lot of money on alcohol."

The day before she was stabbed she got her father-in-law to call the police to their home. "They spoke to him. They told him to stay in the living room and calm down and let the children sleep because it was not ok what he was doing. I slept with the children," she said.

On Tuesday, 16 June she said she went to the Citizens' Advice Bureau to ask for help as she wanted a divorce. When she returned home she said she went to the kitchen. She said: "He followed me and he was arguing with me. He was saying I should move out and that social services will come and take the children away from me. He asked for my contribution to the rent. He knew I was not earning." She said she believed he looked into her bag in the hall and he found an appointment letter from the CAB.

She told the jury she was cleaning the hob when: "He came back and I heard a noise and he took something like a piece of cutlery from the draining board. I was facing towards the hob and when I heard the noise, I slightly turned around towards him. That is when he cut me. It was a kitchen knife. Everything was very quick. It was the knife I would use very often in the kitchen. He cut me on my chest. It did not feel that strong. I did not expect him to do that and I didn't feel a very sharp pain, but when he took the knife out there was a lot of blood coming out and I was scared. I put my hand on the wound and I leaned over the hob. That is when he hit me in the back. That was very strong. I screamed and that was when I realised I had to escape from the house - to run away. He didn't say anything. He left the kitchen. I realised I had to run and ask for help."

Dorinel Cojanu, a builder, was arrested at the scene. In an interview, he told the police his wife had caused the injuries herself and that she had tried to stab him.

The jury rejected his account and convicted him of the charge of attempted murder on 27 November.

Defence barrister Rupert Pardoe said that Cojanu had received a very significant punishment. "He is being sorely punished by not seeing his children. It was a momentary act of madness," he said. Mr Pardoe said he stopped the attack himself and did not cause as much damage with the stab to her back.

Judge Marie Catterson told him: "The marriage fell apart in no small part due to your drinking. You and your wife had grown apart. You have no previous convictions, but your wife and her brother have said you have hit her in the past." She said it was by great good fortune that no major vessel was severed in her body. "You attacked your wife in your own home. I accept it was spontaneous and was a total lack of control. It was aggravated by the fact that your three young children were upstairs in the house at the time."

The Judge made a restraining order banning Cojanu from having any direct or indirect contact with his wife without time limit.

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