Ex-secretary of LVA in Hastings attempted to murder his wife three weeks after learning she had an affair, court told

Joe O'Riordan SUS-141024-092709001
Joe O'Riordan SUS-141024-092709001

The former secretary of the 1066 Licensed Victuallers’ Association in Hastings and ex-Polegate town councillor attempted to murder his wife three weeks after discovering she had an affair a court heard.

Joseph O’Riordan, 73, of Brookside Avenue, Polegate, is accused of the attempted murder of his wife Amanda after she was left with life threatening injuries in hospital.

She had been stabbed up to eight times in the couple’s home.

O’Riordan was secretary of the former 1066 Licensed Victuallers’ Association in Hastings and spent 39 years as a licensee.

Opening the case at Brighton Law Courts on Tuesday (April 14), prosecutor Dale Sullivan said the pair had been married for 10 years although they had been in a relationship for more than 20. Mrs O’Riordan had revealed to her husband three weeks before the incident she had been having an affair with a man who was living in Portslade.

Mr Sullivan said in the weeks leading up to the incident on October 22, the defendant, a former Polegate town councillor, had installed a GPS tracker onto his wife’s car and had several documents on his computer relating to his wife’s affair. This included a list of names of men on the electoral roll on the road in Portslade where Mrs O’Riordan’s lover was living at the time.

On the evening of October 22, Mr Sullivan said the couple had taken Mrs O’Riordan’s mother out shopping in Hastings. While they were at Mrs O’Riordan’s mother’s house, Mr O’Riordan took a phone call and after that his mood “shifted”, the court heard. Mr Sullivan said the pair argued on the way home, and Mr O’Riordan told his wife ‘you have made a fool out of me’. When they arrived home Mrs O’Riordan went into the bedroom to put away her handbag. The court heard Mr O’Riordan became agitated when she did not take her coat off as she had said she ‘didn’t know if she was going to stay’ following the argument. The prosecutor said O’Riordan then ‘ripped’ his wife’s coat off, went into the kitchen, took out a knife and went back into the bedroom. O’Riordan allegedly said, “Look at what you’ve made me do, this is all your fault,” before stabbing his wife – said Mr Sullivan. The court was then played the audio from a call to the emergency services by Mr O’Riordan. He told the call handler, “A woman’s been stabbed. The woman, she could die. Please hurry.” When the call handler asked who stabbed the woman, he said, “It was me.” Police officers and paramedics arrived at the scene soon after and Mrs O’Riordan was taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition. Mr O’Riordan was arrested. A video statement from Mrs O’Riordan was also played to the court taken on November 27, soon after she was released from hospital.

In the video, she described her affair as ‘short’ and said it had ended after she told her husband.

“I promised him I would not leave him,” she said. “I knew that he would not cope on his own. I never wanted to hurt him or see him upset.”

She described the series of events which led up to the attack – and then waking up in hospital.

“When I woke up, I was worried about Joe, I wanted to know where he was,” she said. “Nobody could tell me at first. I kept asking because I just wanted to make sure he was okay.

“He had to take medicine and he had some things wrong with him. I wanted to make sure he was being looked after properly as I always looked after him. And still now, I worry about him. I hate the fact he is in prison and I wish he wasn’t. But I know what he did was wrong.

“It is hard because I never, ever thought he would hurt me. I still struggle to believe that.”

Mr O’Riordan denies one count of attempted murder.

The trial continues.