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16 July 2011, 08:31
A teenage knifeman who waved his arms like an "orangutan" as he attacked a woman and repeatedly stabbed her has been locked up indefinitely.
The woman was walking home late at night when Shane Simmonds,18 attacked her.
Simmonds pushed Patricia O'Malley to the ground in a St Albans alleyway and wielding the knife left her permanently scarred.
Giving evidence behind a screen at St Albans crown court, the 44-year-old woman said: "He was swinging his arms like an orangutan. He was hitting me and hitting me. He was on top of me and I was trying to hold him off with my walking stick. He was making groaning noises.
"I was pleading with him. I did not know what on earth was going on. I said 'What are you doing? What are you doing? over and over again. He wasn't stopping he was just hitting me and hitting me.
"I was really confused. I thought he was going to kill me. I just though I was going to die."
Prosecutor Peter Shaw said: "It was a vicious attack. The victim did her best to defend herself. She believed she was being subjected to repeated punches. At the end of the attack the assailant ran off. She saw blood and realised she had been stabbed."
Within an hour of the attack Simmonds himself had dialled 999 and said he had stabbed a woman in St Albans. The police went to his home where he was threatening to harm himself.
"He was interviewed at the police station. He said he had been in the pub and got involved in a fight and stormed off. He got a knife from his flat and was looking for the person responsible for the earlier fight. He thought he saw the man concerned. It was a case of mistaken identity. He said he was very drunk at the time, " said Mr Shaw.
The victim told the jury she walked with a stick for the past four years because of rheumatoid arthritis.
On the night of the attack she had returned from London where she had been visiting friends at five past eleven. After leaving St Albans Station she walked down Alma Road listening to music on her Ipod.
A man, who she later knew to be Simmonds, was standing outside the Great Northern Pub.
She said: "He was pacing up and down outside the pub. He was staring at me. I looked at him and I crossed the road. I walked down Alma Cut.
"I felt Shane Simmonds running behind me. He jumped on me from behind and pulled my hood over my head. It covered my whole face. It completely covered me.
"I pulled the hood back and turned to face him and started to ask him what he was doing. I got no response. The next thing he pushed me onto the floor. I landed on my knee and face on the pavement.
"I turned over on to my back and had hold of my stick. He was hitting me. He was hunched over me."
She said she was holding her stick across her chest in an attempt to fend him off.
Her her screams were heard by a neighbour who shouted: "What's going on?" out of of a bedroom window.
Simmonds was then said to have got up and stamped on her upper arm before she saw him leave: "zig zagging" up the road.
The woman said she got up and realised she had been stabbed as blood poured down her arm and leg.
An ambulance was called and she was given morphine. She was first taken to Watford hospital before being transferred to the Royal Free in London where she received plastic surgery to her face.
Police recovered a knife at the scene of the attack.
Simmonds, previously of Artisan Crescent, St Albans, but now of Brandon Road, Thetford, Norfolk denied attempted murder on the night of 4 October last year. He was cleared by the jury of 8 men and 4 women of attempted murder. He had admitted causing gbh with intent.
Judge Stephen Gullick told Simmonds he had carried out a "frenzied attack." The judge went on: "The scars of the assault - both physically and psychiatrically will be with the victim indefinitely."
He said he public needed to be protected from Simmonds and passed an indeterminate sentence for public protection. He said he would have passed a 10 year sentence had he not given a sentence for public protection. Taking into account the time Simmonds has served behind bars the earliest he can apply for parole is 4 years 83 days.