|Alexander Toth, a window cleaner tried to murder his wife with a claw hammer & knives.|
Window cleaner jailed for 17 years for attempting to murder his wife in Torquay street attack: A vengeful husband from Torquay who planned a murderous revenge attack on his wife after they split up has been jailed for 17 years. Window cleaner, Alexander Toth, 45, stabbed his estranged wife Brigitta, 41, in the back three times and bludgeoned her over the head with a hammer during an ambush as she walked to work along the street in St Marychurch in March.
A judge at Exeter Crown Court, who today sentenced Toth for the attempted murder of his wife, said the defendant had not been able to accept their 21-year marriage was over. He said: "You came to the conclusion that you would revenge the wrong you perceived she had done to you. And you would revenge that wrong by killing her." Residents in Hartop Road described being woken shortly before 6am on March 23 by the sounds of a woman shouting for help.
When police arrived they were confronted with the mum-of-two lying on the road outside St Marychurch Primary School covered in blood. Her husband, who had attacked her with two knives and a claw hammer, was sat nearby threatening to kill himself. The victim suffered severe life-changing injuries as a result of the attack and is still receiving treatment in hospital in Plymouth.
Judge Cottle said a psychiatrist's report on Toth found he had 'become obsessed with revenge and planned for some time to kill her.' The judge added: "You had carried out a considerable amount of research on the internet in order to obtain information dealing with broken marriages and you had accessed sites that encouraged you to take revenge. "It was the process of revenge that drove you to do what you did."
The court was told Brigitta was walking to work at Sainsbury's. She was within a few streets of meeting her daughter Pamela, who also worked at the supermarket, and the pair were speaking on the phone at the time of the attack. Judge Cottle said: "You chose your moment when your wife was walking to her place of work at a nearby supermarket and in the early hours of the morning you had planned to attack her as she walked there alone. And in order to carry out that attack you had armed yourself with a claw hammer and two knives.
"You came up from behind her and you attacked her from behind, stabbing her in the back three times and hitting her on the head with the claw hammer. In so doing you caused her terrible injuries." He said the victim sustained several fractures of her skull together with bleeding to the brain and needed surgery as a result. The court was told she still requires psychological and physiological treatment at the neuro-rehabilitation unit of Mount Gould Hospital Plymouth. She also struggles with her language, vision, sense of smell and taste.
Her daughter said she felt 'broken' by the attack. She said her mother was her best friend but now she sometimes forgot her name. "As a result of this attack she has suffered permanent and severe disability," said the judge. "There is significant impairment to her ability to work, to interact socially and her ability to lead a fully engaged life." He said the couple's two children, aged 20 and 16, had been left with the 'awesome responsibility' of caring for their mother 'in consequence of your murderous attack.'
The judge said if Toth had succeeded in killing his wife he would have been jailed for at least 25 years. But because he 'failed in his mission' the starting point was 23 years, minus seven for an early guilty plea. Toth was told he will serve half of that in jail before being released on licence. Detective Sergeant Chris Rooney of the Major Crime Investigation Team said after the sentence: “Toth's guilty plea will prevent the members of the family having to attend a trial and relive those horrific events, and we welcome the courts sentence.
“The Major Crime Investigation Team conducted a thorough investigation and if it wasn't for the actions of the local community, police officers at the scene, paramedics and the medical teams who provided excellent medical care to his victim, Brigitta, this could easily have been a murder investigation. “I thank everyone who assisted and supported the Police in this investigation including the family who have acted with dignity throughout, and we wish Brigitta well for her continued recovery."
Following the guilty plea on Thursday, prosecutor Rachel Drake said the couple had separated several months before but Toth had then learned Brigitta had a new partner. It was her usual practice to speak to meet her daughter, Pamela, on the way. "Suddenly the phone went dead," said Ms Drake. 'There were no shouts, no crying, nothing."
In the aftermath of the attack both the victim and her husband were taken to hospital. Toth's injuries, inflicted on himself with a knife at the scene, were not as severe as his wife's, the court heard. Doctors assessed him and found he was not suffering from a mental illness at the time. However during the assessment he said he was 'constantly looking things up on the internet and the truth is I wanted to kill her and myself'.
Barry White, mitigating, said Toth was deeply remorseful for his actions. He said the defendant led a quiet, 'small life' with few friends and when the marriage broke down had no emotional outlet or person to talk to. "He is a quiet and unassuming man who lost it and did something terrible and will never do anything like it again," said Mr White. He said Toth worked 55 hours a week as a window cleaner and at a supermarket in Paignton.