Aussie dad feared for family in crazed Brit knife attack
An Australian dad has told how he feared his wife could have been killed in front of his daughter after she was stabbed in a brutal attack in London.
Josephine Conlon, 36, was walking with a pram carrying her toddler in south London when she was attacked from behind and stabbed seven times in the face.
Mark Brazant, who had been released from jail only six days before the attack, was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London to life with a minimum of 11 years on Thursday morning Australian time.
He will not be released until he is deemed to be no longer a threat to the community's safety.
Brazant had pleaded guilty to attempted murder only after a court had spent four weeks hearing his case following an initial not guilty plea.
Mr Conlon, originally from Sydney, told the court he was distraught when his British wife was attacked on December 30, 2019.
"She'd been stabbed in the neck, close to her eye, she could have been killed right in front of (her daughter)," he said in a statement that was read out to court by the prosecution.
He said she was now worried about her leaving the house on her own and that he thought she would not make it.
"I was worried irrationally that Jo wouldn't be released from surgery," he said.
"I'm not sure Jo will ever completely get over what had happened to her.
"Jo will never be able to go out with the same freedom as before."
Mr Conlon said his wife was now sometimes scared of him if he walked behind her.
"I have to be careful where I stand in relation to her," he said.
He said that if he fell behind her and "then catch up she would feel shocked".
Mrs Conlon had caught up with her family earlier in the day when Brazant followed her after getting off a bus.
The Old Bailey heard that he did not stab anyone on the bus because he said he knew he would not be able to get away.
He said in evidence that he targeted Mrs Conlon because she was a small woman and was unlikely to fight back.
She was on the phone to her mother and pushing the pram when Brazant attacked her in a poorly lit driveway in Streatham, south London.
He grabbed her throat, and using a knife that had the "best grip" stabbed her in the face and neck seven times, narrowly missing major arteries.
Mrs Conlon managed to fight him off but now has permanent scarring.
She bravely read out her witness impact statement in court, saying: "It was six months before I could face going back to work. The physical wounds have been hard to come to terms with being on my face and neck," she said.
"I know I'm incredibly lucky I only have a few scars."
She said she was worried her daughter could have been killed when she lost control of her pram.
"It could have been so easily different - had her buggy rolled down the road on Streatham hill," she said.
"My daughter continues to be my motivation to get my life back."
Brazant had 19 convictions from 32 previous offences and had only been released from prison six days before his attack on Mrs Conlon.
He had been released from prison with medication but "chose not to take it" and had been unwilling to undergo long acting antipsychotic injections which would have controlled his mental schizophrenia.
Brazant had said he heard voices to stab someone, but the court also heard that he did not mention this when he handed himself into police several days after the attack.
A mix up meant that his parole interview was missed and he was homeless at the time of the attack on Mrs Conlon.
He was jailed in November 2019 for attacks on women at a London train station and the court heard he had a deep seated problem with women.
Originally published as Aussie dad feared for family in crazed Brit knife attack