Stock: Man guilty of attempting to murder ex-partner
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A man who subjected his ex-partner to a chilling attack outside her own home has been found guilty of her attempted murder.
It follows an investigation led by Chelmsford’s Domestic Abuse Investigation Team (DAIT) with support from our Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Team (DAPST) and our partner, Next Chapter, a charity who support victims of domestic abuse.
Earlier this week, on Monday 15 November, a jury found the man guilty following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
In April 2022, David Richards, 41, of no fixed abode, ambushed the woman late at night as she was letting her dogs out into her garden.
Richards then dragged her inside a building on the property in Stock, where she was bound and attacked with a hatchet.
While Richards stepped out to try and find the woman’s phone, she was able to free herself, run back to her children inside her home, lock her doors and call for help.
She received life-changing injuries to her head and spent days recovering in hospital.
Despite the doors being locked, Richards continued to terrify the family by attempting to force entry into the property. Unable to get in, he fled the property in his car but was traced by our officers and staff shortly following the assault.
Richards failed to pull over when directed to stop, driving at speeds of over 90mph in an attempt to evade arrest. Following a short pursuit, he was brought to a stop near Ipswich by highly skilled officers and arrested for attempted murder. He was charged a few days later and has been remanded in custody since.
Richards denied trying to kill the woman but it took a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court only 3 hours to convict him of her attempted murder. He was also found guilty of breaching a non-molestation order.
He will be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday 21 December.
"Victim should be commended for her bravery"
The investigating officer for the case, DC Jenny Clarke of Chelmsford’s DAIT, said:
“Everyone who has worked on this case has collected every scrap of evidence and testimony we could to convince the jury of Richards intent that night.
“He waited behind the woman’s house armed with a dangerous weapon, dressed in waterproof clothing and chose to attack her in the middle of the night when she was most vulnerable.
“He didn’t even care that young children were alone inside the house and could have found their mum the next morning.
“People like Richards are a danger to our communities and we will do everything we can to stop them.
"The woman has been left feeling unsafe on her own up until this guilty verdict and should be commended for her bravery not only after the incident but throughout the investigation and giving vital evidence at court.
“We would also like to commend the support network of friends and family she had behind her throughout this incredibly difficult time.”
There is support available for you
If you or someone you know needs help, there is support available to you.
If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from abuse, stalking or harassment, please report it.
If you need to speak with us urgently but fear someone may overhear, call 999 and press 55 when instructed to do so. This will alert the operator that you’re in a dangerous situation and need help.
If you’re concerned by your partner’s behaviour or someone else’s relationship, Clare’s Law also allows people who think they may have, or know of, a violent partner to request information about them.
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If you would like advice or support and aren't ready to speak with us, our partners are also here to help you.
Next Chapter (formerly known as Colchester & Tendring Women's Refuge) is a domestic abuse charity working across the areas of Tendring, Colchester, Maldon, Chelmsford, Braintree & Uttlesford.
They provide free and confidential services to support people who are currently experiencing, or have previously experienced domestic abuse.
Visit our website to find other partners in the area that can offer support. Make an anonymous report
If you would like to make an anonymous report you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers, by visiting their website or by calling 0800 555 111.