A man who tried to snap his wife’s neck by hacking at it with a meat cleaver has been found guilty of trying to murder her.
William Clapperton was found guilty of attempted murder today after an eight day trial.
The 58-year-old attempted to break his estranged wife’s neck with his bare hands ‘like something you would see in a film’, prosecutors claimed, as they said he could not stand the thought of another man being in his wife’s life.
His estranged wife told how she still cannot believe the man she has “known for 14 years, the man who told me every day that he loved me” could subject her to what police called “hours of physical abuse with the clear intention of killing her.”
A detective said “the sickening, unprovoked and vicious attack” was a “truly horrific ordeal” which could have been a murder investigation but for “sheer luck and a matter of millimetres”.
The court previously heard how Clapperton had tried to snap his wife’s neck after hacking at her with a meat cleaver.
Clapperton was in an alcohol-fuelled rage after his wife revealed she intended to end their marriage, the Old Bailey heard, when he began her terrible ordeal by cutting up a large amount of her clothes.
He then subjected her to a sustained and frenzied armed attack at their home address in Twickenham, in the early hours of Monday, February 17, and “destroyed my life”, his victim said in a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police today.
Clapperton ignored the victim’s repeated pleas for him to stop as he inflicted significant injuries to her face, neck and body.
He attacked her with scissors, a chopping knife and his hands while telling her that if she was ugly no one would want her anymore and she was going to die.
She also sustained injuries to her hands and arms, while trying to protect herself.
Images of the victim’s injuries were considered too horrific to be shown in court, police said.
Nine months on from the attack her surgical treatment remains ongoing.
The victim, a woman in her 40’s, said: “As a result of my injuries I am not the same anymore, and I will continue to have further surgery for the foreseeable future.
“I provided for both William and I for many years and even today I can’t believe the man I have known for 14 years, the man who told me every day that he loved me, would do this to me.
“I decided to end our relationship as it simply broke down. From now on I have to live with the scars to my face and am reminded every time I look in the mirror. He destroyed my life and I will never forget what he has done to me.
“I would like to personally thank the kind gentleman who helped me until the police and ambulance arrived, the doctors and nurses at St Marys Hospital who looked after me and the officers who have supported me and provided as much help as they can.
“I want to share my story for others and for the public to be informed that this happens, and it is real.”
He was remanded in custody to appear at the same court for sentencing on Friday, January 22, next year.
The court went on to hear that at around 7.15am, the victim finally saw an opportunity to escape the property.
She ran barefoot into the street where a member of public immediately called for an ambulance.
At 7.39am, police received a call from London Ambulance Service (LAS) and went to the scene.
The court previously heard that Clapperton had collapsed on their bed and began to slash at himself in a crazed fury.
When police raided the flat they found him unconscious and bleeding from self-inflicted wounds on the bed.
Nearby was the black handled cleaver used in the attack and a kitchen knife, as well as blood stains on the floor and duvet.
Doctors had to wash away blood from the victim’s face and hair which was matted together before they could stitch her wounds.
Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl told the court earlier this month that medics found the wounds to the neck were caused by slashing through skin and fat.
“His opinion, as an expert, is that she sustained, or was the victim of a sustained and dynamic assault and the attack focused on the head and neck region rather than on the torso,” David Markham, prosecuting, said.
“The wounds to the neck are a combination of slashing and chopping.
“The wounds and cuts to the neck were the most life threatening because of the vessels in the neck.
“The defendant, her husband, tried to break her neck with his bare hands like something you see out of a film.”
Investigating officer detective constable David Payne, from the Met’s West Area Safeguarding team, said today that this was a “sickening, unprovoked and vicious attack”.
He said the victim was “falsely imprisoned in her own home and subjected to a truly horrific ordeal at the hands of her husband.”
He added: “It was only a matter of chance that after many hours the victim managed to escape the property to seek help.
“Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, at no point has William Clapperton shown any remorse for his actions.
“He will now have a number of years in prison to seriously reflect on the decisions he made that night.
“It was by sheer luck and a matter of millimetres that this was not a homicide investigation.
“I would like to commend the courage and sheer bravery of the victim and her continued positive attitude throughout this investigation despite her ordeal and the life changing injuries she has sustained.”
A Met Police spokesperson described how officers had to break into the property to arrest Clapperton.
They said: “In order to apprehend Clapperton, officers at the scene, along with the Territorial Support Group (TSG), forced entry into the property.
“At 9.31am, Clapperton was placed under arrest.
“He was found with knife wounds to his chest and wrist and was taken to hospital for treatment by LAS.
“His injuries were later established to be self-inflicted wounds.
“Detectives from the Met’s West Area Safeguarding unit immediately launched an investigation.
“On Thursday, February 20, Clapperton was further arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Clapperton was later charged with attempted murder, false imprisonment and criminal damage, and was remanded in custody to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on February 28.
Detective constable Payne revealed that despite many witnesses hearing a disturbance, no calls were made to the police.
He added: “During this investigation we found that many witnesses had heard a disturbance in the early hours of the morning.
“No calls were made to police, and whilst there was no evidence to suggest that calling the police would have changed the outcome, it would have certainly cut short the ordeal the victim suffered.
“I would like to commend the courage of those witnesses who provided evidence to help secure the conviction and urge anyone who hears or sees something suspicious to call police.
“If you are a passer-by or a neighbour that may see or hear something that is concerning or out of the ordinary, please tell us – you will be supported by specialist officers who are trained to help you. Your call could help save a life.”
The Met Police force urged people people experiencing domestic abuse or who know a friend, relative or neighbour who they think is at risk, to call police right away.
In an emergency, always call 999 – high harm domestic abuse calls will continue to be prioritised, they said.
The 24/7 National Domestic Abuse helpline, which offers support to victims and people affected by domestic abuse, is free to call on 0808 2000 247.