Man jailed for attempted murder of cousin in Hertfordshire field

Joel GregoryImage copyright

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Joel Gregory stabbed his cousin 27 times after telling her she was his “favourite cousin”

A man who stabbed his cousin 27 times before he fled when she played dead has been jailed for attempted murder.

Joel Gregory told Bethanie MacSweeney she was his “favourite cousin” just before the attack in a field.

Miss MacSweeney, 18, was knifed in the face, neck and back on 25 February, near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

At Luton Crown Court Gregory, 20 and of no fixed address, was jailed for 14 years. The court heard he had been drinking and taking cocaine on the day.

Miss MacSweeney remembers the fear she felt and being convinced she was going to die, the court was told in a victim impact statement.

But after regaining consciousness, she managed to raise the alarm at a nearby house, before being taken to Watford General Hospital.

‘Apparently motiveless’

Following the attack, Gregory went to his mother’s home in Hemel Hempstead and set fire to his clothes, telling her: “I have slit her throat. I have killed her.”

Sentencing the defendant, Judge Andrew Bright QC said: “It was clear to me from the evidence that your murderous attack upon Miss MacSweeney, who you have always described as your favourite cousin, was wholly unprovoked, apparently motiveless and to some extent pre-planned rather than spontaneous.”

In her victim impact statement, Miss MacSweeney read to the court: “The main thing that I remember is the fear and the feeling that I was going to die.

“At some point I remember trying to pretend I was dead in the hope that he would stop, but he didn’t. I became unconscious at some point and was left for dead in a cold, dark field.”

“Imagine waking up screaming in fear and then looking in the mirror and being reminded every day for the rest of your life about what happened. That is what I now have to live with, “she said.

Gregory, who had denied attempted murder, was sentenced to 18 years, with a minimum term of 14 years in prison and four on licence.

BBC News