Axeman who attacked two supervisors at Royston chemical firm Johnson Matthey set to be sentenced for attempted murder this afternoon
- Credit: Archant
A man who used an axe and a knife to attack two supervisors at Royston chemical firm Johnson Matthey is set to be sentenced for attempted murder this afternoon.
St Albans Crown Court heard this morning how 54-year-old Peter Duffy, of Elm Walk, returned to his workplace of 21 years on July 20 last year, when he was due to complete a night shift.
Duffy, who was then 53, had been on two weeks’ sick leave beforehand for a pancreatic condition he was diagnosed with in 2014.
The prosecution told how he arrived at the factory armed with an axe and a knife, then followed one of his supervisors to the car park and shouted three times that he was going to kill him.
He struck the man’s head and body from behind. The victim then managed to wrestle the axe from Duffy, who made off into the factory.
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Duffy then attacked his second victim with a knife, again from behind – stabbing him in the neck and head.
He was only stopped when another colleague saw what was going on and managed to restrain him.
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The court heard that both victims were taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, and survived – but are still off work, with one continuing to receive counselling.
Defending, Neil Fitzgibbon said that Duffy had at the time perceived his victims as bullies – and that a combination of this, his health, and pressure from the firm to repeatedly provide doctors’ notes had led to the attack.
Mr Fitzgibbon said: “It was the catalyst to why he resorted to doing such a terrible thing.
“He has a great difficultly in being able to articulate his emotions, and he instructs me specifically that he’s very sorry for his actions.
“He is very sorry to both men, he is apologetic to his family – he knows what he has done and how it has affected so many people.”
He continued: “He is consumed with remorse for what he’s done. He can’t apologise enough for his behaviour.
“Now, having had best part of six months in custody, if he could turn the clock back he would.”
Judge Marie Catterson remarked that there was no evidence of mistreatment in the workplace.
Duffy is due to be sentenced for attempted murder, wounding with intent and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon this afternoon.