Titus Paul court case: Little Hadham victim’s fury at sentence for thug who tried to stab him
A man who says he is lucky to be alive after a drunken thug terrorising neighbours tried to stab him is seething over the sentence given to his attacker.
Mick Mahon was speaking after Titus Paul was jailed for 17 months at St Albans Crown Court. He admitted affray and a homophobically aggravated public order offence. He was also given a three-year restraining order banning him from Little Hadham.
Armed police, a dog unit and a helicopter were sent to the village on Sunday April 26 after Paul, 39, of The Ford, was reported to be making threats with a knife. When he was eventually arrested after a 90-minute manhunt he made homophobic remarks to a special constable.
In his victim statement to the court, Mick said that he had come close to being killed after he and others intervened upon hearing his next-door neighbours – including young children and their grandparents – come under attack from Paul.
“I heard our neighbour’s wife shouting fearfully at an attacker that she had her kids in the garden and I heard someone else shouting a warning that he ‘had a blade’”, Mick said.
He went to assist them and met Paul as he was leaving the neighbours’ garden. “He came straight at me in a drunken, drug-fuelled rage,” said Mick.
“As he attacked me I noted he was carrying a beer bottle in his right hand but did not immediately see a knife. It was only as we fought that he stepped back and drew the knife from his waistband – I knew I was in serious trouble.”
Over the course of a 10- to 15-minute assault Paul made repeated attempts to stab Mick with a kitchen knife. The victim sought refuge behind his neighbours’ wrought iron gate, but Paul tried to knife him through the gate.
“Fortunately I sustained only a small defensive knife wound to my hand as I shielded myself and my neighbours behind the gate,” said Mick.
“My immediate concern was the threat to my neighbour’s wife, her young children and their elderly grandparents, who were in the garden, clearly terrified and directly in harm’s way.
“To my horror, the attacker subsequently threatened to kill my partner with the knife as, unaware of the danger, she came from our house to see what was happening. She immediately fled back to our house to protect herself and her two children.”
Speaking to the Stortford Indie, Mick said that he had nothing but praise for the police, who he said were excellent, but felt he had been let down by the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.
He was surprised Paul was charged with affray and angry at the sentence. “I’m seething that the judge has looked at it and said ‘17 months’. What will he serve? No-one can tell me,” said Mick.
He was frustrated that although Paul had been given a third off his sentence for pleading guilty, he did not know if that had been applied on sentencing or would be taken off the 17 months, which meant he had no idea when Paul would be released.
“The only time I’ll know he’s out and about is when he stabs me,” said Mick, who added that there had been a spate of incidents involving Paul in the village.