A woman has told of how she thought a crazed maths teacher was going to kill her in a savage carving knife attack, as the perpetrator is jailed for 22 years for attempted murder.
Scorned Clare Bailey, 44, launched the attack on Emma Russell, 43, on June 23 last year after her cheating husband ended the illicit romance.
Bailey disguised herself in a red wig and bought flowers for the wife before stabbing and slashing her with a carving knife, in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Speaking of the attack on a video, Emma said that her daughter, who was 14 at the time, came down the stairs and went for the woman.
Sobbing uncontrollably, she said: ‘The only other thing I remember is, when she was behind me, and she was trying to cut my throat and that was the point that I knew that if I didn’t do anything then I wasn’t going to survive, so I grabbed the knife with my hands and then clung onto it and it stopped her.’
Scorned Clare Bailey, 44, launched the attack on Emma Russell (pictured), 43, on June 23 last year in Harrogate after her cheating husband ended the illicit romance
Clare Bailey (pictured), 44, has been sentenced to 22 years and four months’ imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to attempted murder
The camera zooms in to show the mark left by the wound on her neck. A scar on her arm can also be seen.
Leeds Crown Court heard Bailey had driven from her home in Dudley, in the West Midlands, to launch the frenzied attack.
Prosecutor Rupert Doswell said Bailey started the affair with the man following a kiss at her brother’s wedding.
The court heard that they had known each other around 20 years previously.
He said: ‘It progressed to a sexual relationship and they met on a handful of occasions over the next couple of years. It was clear that she wanted him to leave his wife.
‘At the time he accepted he may have given her the impression he may.
‘At around midnight between Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2019, there was a knock on the door. Flowers and two cardboard notes were left. The children saw someone running up the street. The notes were handwritten to his wife.’
The court heard that one of the notes said: ‘I’ll keep on waiting for when I can have Christmas with you,’ while another said: ‘If only I could be with you.’
In March 2022, the man told Bailey he was ending their relationship and his children were his priority.
He then blocked her on social media, but in May 2022, while he was on a walk on his lunch break, he felt a ‘tap on his shoulder’ and it was Bailey.
Mr Doswell said: ‘It was the defendant and she said she was there to see him. They spoke for half an hour and he told her the relationship was over.’
The court heard that on June 23 last year, Bailey was caught on CCTV at a Sainsbury’s store buying flowers. ANPR cameras had tracked her car from her home.
Mr Doswell said she had told work she had gone in, but had needed to leave due to a prolapse and wetting herself.
However, Bailey had instead travelled to Harrogate, bought the flowers, pulled on a red wig and Covid facemask and knocked on the door of the man’s family home before brutally stabbing Emma with a carving knife.
Mr Doswell said: ‘At 4.52pm, North Yorkshire Police got a call from the ambulance service saying they had gone to an address in Harrogate to reports a woman had been stabbed.
Leeds Crown Court heard Clare Bailey (pictured) had driven from her home in Dudley, in the West Midlands, to launch the frenzied attack
Sobbing uncontrollably, Emma said: ‘The only other thing I remember is, when she was behind me, and she was trying to cut my throat and that was the point that I knew that if I didn’t do anything then I wasn’t going to survive, so I grabbed the knife with my hands and then clung onto it and it stopped her’
‘Footage from a Ring doorbell minutes before that call showed she had gone to the door of the address and rang the doorbell. Before it was answered, she obscured her face with a bunch of flowers.
‘The door was opened and after telling her [the victim] the flowers were for her, she burst into the hallway and with a large carving knife, violently attacked.’
Bailey repeatedly hacked, slashed and stabbed at Emma, who tried to grab at the knife, resulting in serious injuries to her hand.
Part of the attack was seen by the Emma’s young daughter who tried to help by grabbing at the knife before calling the emergency services.
The court heard that after the attack, two men in their cars saw Bailey calmly walking away.
Mr Doswell said one of them ‘seemed casual and he didn’t think anything had happened at the address and heard screaming and with others went inside’.
She added: ‘After seeing blood, he ran up the street to see where the defendant had gone. She had disappeared.’
Bailey had gone home and attempted to get rid of her disguise.
She was arrested in the early hours of July 4 and on her way to custody asked an officer: ‘Is this in relation to my friend’s wife? I spoke to him and he said she had been stabbed.’
Mr Doswell said: ‘When shown CCTV of her at the supermarket, she claimed memory loss in relation to that and the events.’
Officers searched Bailey’s home and discovered blood-stained clothing from the washing machine and a blue Covid mask.
A glove stained with blood was discovered under a bin and there were also blood stains on the car door.
The court heard that Emma suffered serious injuries to her neck, forearm, arm and abdominal and she had to undergo surgery.
Her injuries were described as life-changing and were ‘within millimetres of being a serious threat to life’.
The video shared by the police shows the scar left on Emma’s neck after she fended off Bailey
There is also a scar on her arm from the knife attack. Emma said she felt the need to cling onto the knife in order to survive
Mr Doswell said that at the scene she remarked: ‘A woman tried to give me flowers and I said ‘I don’t want them” and ‘Don’t let me die’.’
Emma was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where she stayed for a month before she discharged herself.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said she still suffers with nightmares and flashbacks, adding: ‘Sometimes I will stop myself from sleeping as I don’t want the dreams to happen.’
Curtis Myrie, mitigating, told the court Bailey had pleaded guilty to attempted murder at an earlier hearing. A psychiatric report for the court had also been prepared.
He said: ‘There is an acceptance of responsibility entirely for what she has done. For the catastrophic and traumatic consequences of her actions. There is no minimising of that.’
His Honour Judge Robin Mairs jailed Bailey for 22 years and four months and told her she must serve two thirds of that sentence in custody. He described her sending the flowers to the house over Christmas and New Year 2019 and the calls to Emma’s work as ‘trying to poison both sides against each other’.
He told Bailey Emma was ‘very much the target of your jealousy’.
The judge said: ‘That morning [of the attack] you sent messages to her husband about how much you loved him…’
The judge said of the victim: ‘What you did dominates her days and haunts her nights.’ Bailey was also made the subject of an indefinite restraining order.’
Outside court Senior Investigating Officer Jonathan Sygrove said: ‘First of all I must commend the bravery of Emma, she has shown such courage throughout the investigation and I hope today’s sentence will allow her some closure on the events of that afternoon.
‘This was a horrific attack on an innocent and blameless lady who is now unable to feel safe in her own home, work, or spend time independently with her children, as a result. Emma had to spend weeks in hospital away from her family receiving treatment for injuries which, simply, should never have happened. All she did was open the front door to her home.
‘From receiving the initial call from the ambulance service this was an extremely fast-paced investigation which led to the quick arrest and charge of the offender. It soon became clear the level of planning Bailey had put in place and the little regard she had for anyone getting in the way of what she wanted and I welcome the sentence handed to her today.’
Emma said: ‘I am still in pain every day and need painkillers to help with this. I use crutches to get around as I am still unable to use my right leg fully and for longer distances I have a wheelchair.
‘I’ve lost all my independence, I couldn’t go back to work, we are having to rely on disability benefits, I have just lost my whole life really, I need help with everything I do.
‘I don’t sleep and when I do sleep, I have flashbacks and nightmares of that afternoon.
‘I can’t imagine what my daughter went through, to witness what she did, to try and stop the attack, she is my hero, she will always be my little hero, I honestly don’t think I would still be here if she hadn’t been home that day.
‘I know people will have their opinion about what I should have done following the attack, but I have done what was best for me. Affairs happen, they aren’t nice, but they happen and no-one would ever imagine something like this would be the outcome, this was not a normal reaction to someone breaking up a relationship.
‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who came to help on that day, people who didn’t know me, didn’t know whether they were safe, or if they would be attacked too. Thank you.’