Thursday 14 December 2017

'My leg was sliced open' by ex-fiancée of Prince Charles's godson, Irish woman tells court

Pair were on four-day trip to London, court hears

Zeaphena Badley with her ex-fiancée Nicholas Knatchbull
Zeaphena Badley with her ex-fiancée Nicholas Knatchbull

Ryan Nugent

A young Dublin couple were subjected to a frenzied knife attack by the former fiancee of a British royal while on a trip to London.

Student Oona McCabe was stabbed repeatedly in the head with the blade of a Stanley knife during the unprovoked and vicious assault, a court heard.

Oona McCabe and Kevin Cannon
Oona McCabe and Kevin Cannon

Ms McCabe and boyfriend Kevin Cannon, who both live and work in Dublin, were walking into Burger King on London Street, Paddington, in the early hours of January 17 when the attack happened.

Zeaphena Badley (35), who was once engaged to a godson of Prince Charles, launched the attack because she wanted to be locked up, a court was told.

In CCTV footage shown in court, Badley was seen slashing at the back of Ms McCabe's right knee before walking into Burger King just behind the couple.

Wrestled

Accused Zeaphena Badley
Accused Zeaphena Badley

Mr Cannon, who lives in Greenhills, stood between the women and took a glancing blow to the chin with the blade, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Badley then appeared to launch herself at Ms McCabe, hacking three or four times at her head. The attacker was then wrestled to the floor and held by Mr Cannon and another man.

Ms McCabe, who gave evidence via video-link from Dublin, said she received more than 20 stitches to her head and could not work for three weeks as a result of her injuries.

She said she and Mr Cannon were making their way back to their hotel in Paddington following a meal on the second night of their four-day trip.

After crossing the road on their way towards Burger King, Ms McCabe told jurors she "felt heat across the back of my leg" before feeling "my hair being pulled".

"Then I looked down and my leg was sliced open, so I ran into Burger King and Kevin followed me in," said Ms McCabe.

"He turned around and asked what she was doing and I asked him to come inside. He stepped in between us and then I ran up the steps.

"I could see my leg was cut. I told Kevin and he then followed me inside Burger King."

Mr Cannon told the woman: "We don't want any trouble, we don't want any trouble."

Ms McCabe said the attacker repeatedly called her a "stupid b***h" during the incident.

"There was blood the whole way down my leg," she said.

"I ran in and I had my back against the back wall.

"Kevin followed me in and the woman came over his shoulder, she came into Burger King, and ran across the room, over his shoulder and started slashing my head.

"I put my hands up to cover my face and I fell to the ground."

Mr Cannon stood between Badley and his girlfriend and "took a glancing blow", which cut his neck below the jawline.

Prosecutor Tom Nicholson asked Ms McCabe: "How severe were the blows to your head?"

She replied: "The front of my head coming down to my forehead was 11 stitches.

"I had 13 stitches to the back of my head and I had one stitch on my face. Then I had loads of cuts all over my head - loads of smaller cuts."

Jurors heard the wound to the back of the former bar worker's knee needed 16 stitches.

Jurors were shown graphic photos of the wound, which measured 16cm across, and protruded deep into the fatty tissue of the leg.

"I couldn't work for three weeks. I couldn't put that much pressure on to it and I am still getting treatment," said Ms McCabe.

The court heard that the victims were unknown to the defendant and that Ms McCabe was "unlucky to be there at the time when the defendant chose to make her attack".

Prosecutor Tom Nicholson also played body-worn video footage of a police officer responding to the incident.

When she was told she was being arrested for GBH, Badley can be heard replying: "Brilliant."

"That gives you an idea of the kind of ferocity the Crown say there was in the attack, which was entirely unprovoked," the prosecutor added.

Fortune

Badley, who was once engaged to Eton-educated Nicholas Knatchbull, titled Lord Romsey and heir to a £100m (€113m) fortune, has failed to attend court for the trial, which is being held in her absence.

She met Romsey in rehab and they announced their engagement in 2010.

They were engaged for 18 months, and she would have become the 9th Baroness Brabourne, but the wedding was called off in 2013.

Badley, formerly of Cromwell Road, Kensington, south-west London, denies grievous bodily harm with intent and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard she had been sleeping rough when she spotted Ms McCabe and Mr Cannon.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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