Stalking accused stabbed victim in neck with scissors

Helen Pearson Helen Pearson told the court she thought she was going to be killed

A five-year stalking campaign culminated in the attempted murder of a woman who was stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors, a court has heard.

Helen Pearson was on her way to a gym when she was attacked near St Bartholomew's Cemetery, Exeter, the city's crown court was told.

Joseph Willis, 49, has denied a charge of attempted murder.

The court was told Mr Willis was pulled off during the attack last October when a passer-by was alerted by screams.

Giving evidence at Exeter Crown Court Ms Pearson said she was sure she was going to be killed and her body dumped in the graveyard.

'Murderous' look

The prosecution said the assault followed five years of stalking which included attacks on Ms Pearson's flat and car, and threatening letters and phone calls.

She told the jury it left her "sick, ill and absolutely terrified" and it was "five years of hell".

During her evidence on Monday, Ms Pearson said the accused, of Exe Street, Exeter, had a "murderous" look in his eyes as he pinned her down and tried to stab her in the neck.

A witness said that after being rescued, she said: "It was my stalker."

The court was told the accused allegedly sent poison pen letters to her home branding her a "lying evil girl" and warning her to "watch her back".

Mr Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Mr Willis, who has admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, was caught on a security camera as he pulled a weapon from his pocket.

Mr Crabb said: "As far as she was concerned, he was going to kill her and it went through her mind the catacombs would be an ideal place to hide a body. Throughout all this he did not utter a single word."

The jury was told Ms Pearson had reported 125 separate incidents to Devon and Cornwall Police regarding stalking.

The trial continues.

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