A man who pushed his “favourite cousin” to the ground and stabbed her 27 times in Hemel Hempstead has been convicted of attempted murder today (Friday, August 21).
Joel Gregory, 20, stabbed 18-year-old Bethanie Macsweeney in her face, neck, back and hands with a 12-inch knife at around midnight on February 25/26 this year in Bunker’s Park.
Bethanie Macsweeney, who regained consciousness, made her way to a nearby home to raise the alarm.
Footage from a doorcam was played to the jury at Luton Crown Court in which she screamed: “Please help me! Please help me!”
Prosecutor Martin Mulgrew told the jury the victim had been having a meal with two friends at The Full House in Hemel earlier that night.
Bethany agreed to meet Gregory in The Midland pub. After one drink they decided to go on to Redz Bar in the High Street to play pool.
He said he needed to get rid of something and placed it under a small bush down an alleyway near Redz. The girl challenged him, saying: “Is that a knife?” He answered: “Yes.”
“He later retrieved that knife – a kitchen knife – and attacked her with it,” said the prosecutor.
At one point, Gregory went out for a cigarette. He returned and was abusive to a member of the bar staff. He called him a “d…head” and was asked to leave.
They got into a taxi shortly before midnight and ended up in Chambersbury Lane in Hemel. Bethany thought they were going to Gregory’s mother’s home. They walked across Bunker’s Park. He put his arm around her and said she was his favourite cousin.
In the witness box, Bethany said the attack came ‘out of the blue.’
Mr Mulgrew said: “Half way across the field, without warning, he pushed her to ground and held her down by her head.
“He stabbed her all over her body. She was screaming and shouting: ‘Why are you doing this? Let me go.’
“He put his hand over her mouth to try and stop her screaming. She pretended to play dead and then passed out. She recovered consciousness and saw he had run off.
“She ran to a nearby house. A Ring doorbell captured her arrival.”
She was taken to Watford General Hospital, where she was treated for multiple injuries to her body.
Gregory made his way back to his mother’s home. His mother saw an orange glow through her window and discovered he had taken off his clothes, set a fire and burned them.
She asked what was going on.
He told her: “I slit her throat. She is dead.” He told her had also stabbed another girl 24 times.
Gregory claimed Bethany was going to set him up with another girl, but she was not there.
Mr Mulgrew said: “The motive in this attack remains very unclear. He was very drunk when he made the comments.”
Gregory did not give evidence to the jury. Judge Andrew Bright QC adjourned sentence until next Wednesday.