Attempted murder accused, 51, 'stabbed bingo friend, 63, over stolen £3,900' in Bishop's Waltham

A WOMAN launched a ‘frenzied’ knife attack on her 63-year-old friend after overhearing her victim’s suspicions she had stolen nearly £4,000, a court heard.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 9:40 am

Jurors were told Paula Ayres, 51, held Julie Page’s in a ‘vice’-like grip as she brutally stabbed her in the neck with a Stanley knife inside the victim’s kitchen in Oak Road, Bishop’s Waltham.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard blood poured from her neck as the pair struggled, with Ayres ‘possessing some kind of strength' and Mrs Page having an earring ripped from her ear.

Mrs Page decided to play dead on her kitchen floor in a successful bid to end the attack, she told police.

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Police at the scene of the incident in Oak Road in Bishop's Waltham on July 22. Picture: Tom Cotterill

Giving evidence yesterday in a police-recorded interview played to jurors, Mrs Page was seen with a large bandage on the right side of her neck as she told how Ayres went ‘flying’ at her on Monday, July 22 last year at around 11.30am.

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Mrs Page, who went shopping and played bingo with Ayres each week, said: ‘All of a sudden she just lunged at me from behind and she had my neck in like a vice with both hands. I didn’t realise at the time she had a knife or whatever she had.

‘We were struggling. I kept shouting at her: “What are you doing this for? What are you doing? What’s wrong with you?”

‘She didn’t answer. She didn’t utter a word to me. She kept going, and going, and going.

‘She got me to the ground and I believe that’s when she broke the rib. There was blood everywhere, there (were) clots - it was horrendous to be honest.

‘I thought I’m going to die here if I’m not careful.

‘(I thought) I just got to make out she’s already done it. I lay there deadly quiet holding my breath and next minute she disappeared.

‘I thought “thank Christ for that”. I managed to scramble up and reach my phone and call the police and ambulance.’

Ayres has admitted theft of the money and causing grievous bodily harm with intent but denies attempted murder.

Mrs Page added: ‘I had blood coming out of every area around my neck.’

She survived the injuries but suffered two ‘very large wounds’ to her neck, between five and seven ‘separate further wounds to the back area’, two possible rib fractures and another injury when an earring was ripped from her ear, prosecutor Simon Jones said.

As help arrived Mrs Page’s phone rang - with Ayres calling. ‘She rang me but I didn’t answer it,’ she said.

The court heard that before the attack Ayres had arrived for a cup of tea at her friend of up to six year's home. Ayres then overheard Mrs Page on FaceTime with her sister, and a phone call with her nephew, talking about the missing cash.

On the call Mrs Page told her sister that her husband Les Page, 71, was at Fareham police station reporting the theft at that very moment.

In between this Ayres left but then returned to the home ‘armed’ with a knife, the prosecutor said.

Mrs Page said: ‘She came round my house to have a cup of tea. I didn’t know she’d come in, I didn’t know she came back.’

A third friend arrived at Mrs Page’s house before the attack. But in what the prosecution said was a ruse so as to be alone with Mrs Page, the defendant asked the third woman to go to her nearby home in Willow Road to get Coffee Mate whitener for a drink, Mr Jones said.

It was then Ayres launched her attack, the court heard. Mr Jones said: ‘The defendant’s clear intention was to kill.’

Just after the attack the third woman returned and Ayres answered the door with a bloodied hand, claiming she had cut it on a ‘tin opener,’ Mr Jones said.

The prosecutor added: ‘In fact what the defendant had just done was carry out a brutal and unlawful attack on Mrs Page with a knife, a knife that she carried from that house to her own house, the defendant walking back with (the third woman) to make a cup of tea.’

When police arrived at Ayres’ home, where she and the unsuspecting third woman had returned, officers found the knife in her switched on washing machine, the court heard.