A HEARTBROKEN Milton Keynes man who slit his love rival’s throat in a revenge attack had been coming to terms with the murder of his 20-year-old daughter.
Stephen Dalzell was distraught after his partner of 10 years told him she had found someone new.
And so early one morning last September Dalzell sabotaged his love rival’s van and then cut Vincent O’Reilly’s throat as he was attempting to repair the vehicle.
Luton Crown Court heard on Friday how after Dalzell had fled the scene of the attack in Leighton Buzzard, a passing female motorist came across Mr O’Reilly in the road bleeding heavily from his neck.
The woman, Cedars Upper School dinner lady Wendy Price, pulled over and then drove him to Milton Keynes Hospital.
Judge John Bevan QC, hearing the case, said “It seems to me Wendy Price behaved in a most public spirited way and quite possibly saved his life by driving him to hospital as quickly as she could.”
The judge commented that other road users that morning who had come across Mr O’Reilly, hadn’t stopped. He awarded Mrs Price £250 out of public funds.
The story was unfolded on Friday when Dalzell, 46, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on September 6 last year.
During the hearing the court heard Dalzell himself had suffered an appalling tragedy in 2006 when his daughter Joanna had been murdered.
Prosecutor Jacqueline Matthews-Stroud said it was last summer the defendant’s relationship with his partner of 10 years, Sarah Sellers, hit the rocks after she found someone new.
The prosecutor said Miss Sellers, who lived with her three children in Leighton Buzzard, tried to let the defendant down “gently” and they would see each other and on occasions stay together at night.
Last July, Dalzell went missing. His car was eventually located in a car park at Luton Airport and it was later discovered he was in Thailand.
He was out of the UK for a total of seven weeks and Miss Sellers and Mr O’Reilly continued their relationship.
Miss Matthews-Stroud said that with complete secrecy Dalzell flew into Heathrow Airport on September 1 and in the early hours of September 6 he drove to the home of Miss Sellers and saw Mr O’Reilly’s van on the driveway. There he punctured one of the tyres on the vehicle.
Mr O’Reilly left the house at around 6.45am that morning and spotted the half flat tyre. He decided to try and get to a garage but he was forced to pull up and decided he would have to change the tyre himself.
The court heard he was in the process of unscrewing the “spare” when he suddenly felt a hand around his mouth, nose and face and felt pressure to his neck.
“He felt his neck was wet and turned to see the defendant standing in front of him holding a knife in his fist. The defendant was saying: ‘remember me, remember me?”.
Mr O’Reilly was staggering in the road with blood pouring from his throat wound when Mrs Price came across him and rushed him to hospital.
Police were alerted and Dalzell was traced to a Travel Lodge at Toddington. He answered a knock at the door of his room by telling officers: “You took your time, I’ve been expecting you.”
Judge Bevan was told Mr O’Reilly had suffered a cut to his jugular vein and muscle tissue. There was a serious injury to major blood vessels in the neck and he had also suffered a cut to his knee.
Peter Guest, defending, said: “He recognises the gravity of harm he has caused and he is sorry for what he did.”
The barrister said that when Dalzell’s marriage to his first wife finished in the late 1990s he remained a good father to their three children. He then met Miss Sellers and they fell in love.
The court was told it was Miss Sellers who had been a “rock” for Dalzell back in 2006 with the murder of his daughter.
Mr Guest said after returning to the UK Dalzell wanted to speak to her and Mr O’Reilly and had punctured the tyre as a way of making sure they would be at the house together.
The barrister then said when his client approached the victim in Hockliffe Road he only meant to scare him.
Passing sentence Judge Bevan told Dalzell: “You cut his throat, nicking his jugular vein. He could have possibly died, the injury was potentially life threatening.”
The Judge said however stoically Dalzell had dealt with the loss of his daughter, there was no doubt it had deeply affected him.
He then told the defendant “A second reverse when your long term partner left you for another tipped you over the edge.”
He jailed him for five years.