Mother and daughter suffer severe injuries in knife attack


St Alban’s Crown has been told how a Harpenden man launched a “frenzied knife attack” on his partner and her daughter has been told to expect a significant prison sentence.

On Thursday, October 22 2020, Gregory Williams, 46, was cleared of two charges of attempting to murder Claire Smith and her daughter Chace, now 19 at the home in Southdown Road, Harpenden, in the town where they all lived.

Instead, the jury found him guilty of two alternative, lesser charges of wounding the pair with intent to do them grievous bodily harm.

The attacks happened at their home in the early hours of Sunday, December 8, 2019.

Prosecutor Simon Wilshere said: “On the evening of December 7, the Saturday night, Claire Smith and the youngest daughter were at home with Mr Williams enjoying a normal Saturday evening in.

“Chace finished work at a pub and joined them in the living room.

“The evening passed unremarkably until at some point Mr Williams began to tease one of the family dogs with nuts and raisins.

Tempers were frayed,” said Mr Wilshire. Williams kicked the dog off the sofa when Chace had told him not to tease it.

Later, in the early hours of December 8, more words were exchanged and he was allegedly heard to say: “I can to do ten to fifteen years for this, who is going to go first?”

Mr Wilshire said: “With a knife he launched an unprovoked and sudden knife attack on Chace, then Claire before further attacking Chace.

“This was a frenzied and quick attack.

“Claire picked up a bottle of wine to hit the defendant at least four times to the head to try to stop him attacking her daughter.

“The attack was so swift and frenzied. As it was happening neither realised they were being stabbed. They thought they were being punched. They were being stabbed repeatedly.”

Both daughters dialled 999 for the police and ambulance. Gregory Williams left the scene and was found when the police responded to a report of a crash of a BMW near junction 6a on the M1.

“The officers found Mr Williams’ vehicle straddled across lanes one and two having suffered extensive damage.

“He was arrested and was to hospital to have his injuries assessed and then to Hatfield police station.“

“When the police searched his vehicle they found two notes, one with blood on it said: ‘It’s all because of Chace I just wanted respect.”

The prosecutor said both women suffered serious defensive injuries. Chace Smith to her head, base of neck back and hand and Claire Smith to her arm, skull and hand.

After the jury had returned their verdicts on Thursday afternoon Judge Stephen Warner adjourned the sentencing to next week.

He told Williams: ”You have been convicted by the jury of what in any standard is a horrific attack. It’s inevitable there will be a very significant prison sentence in this case.”

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