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Wales Online
Wales Online
Jason Evans

Woman who believed she was Princess Diana reborn drove 50 miles to random stranger's house and stabbed her

A woman suffering from a psychotic episode stabbed a stranger after breaking into her home.

Jasmine Duffy had driven some 50 miles from her home in Somerset before stopping in Newport apparently because a bridge in the Welsh city reminded her of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

She then broke into a house at random and attacked the homeowner before telling police who rushed to the scene in response to a 999 call that she lived in the house and was the victim.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the 23-year-old was suffering from a psychotic illness at the time of the stabbing, and believed she was responsible for the coronavirus outbreak, and that she was Princess Diana reborn.

The court heard details of a impact statement from the victim in which she said the attack had "ruined" her life.

Marian Lewis, prosecuting, said in the early hours of May 18 this year Duffy left her home in Bridgwater, Somerset, in her car.

At around 6.45am a woman living in Lliswerry area of Newport was woken by the sound of smashing glass, and when she went downstairs to investigate she found the defendant standing in her kitchen.

The court heard the defendant said "I am lost, it's okay" over and over again before lunging at the homeowner and stabbing her repeatedly in the shoulder with a large piece of broken glass.

The prosecutor said the pair "grappled" on the floor before Duffy managed to overpower the woman and throttle her, and then repeatedly slam her head into the floor.

After what Miss Lewis described as a "desperate struggle" the victim managed to free herself and make a dash for the door but the defendant followed, and once outside she again grabbed the woman and repeatedly smashed her head against the ground.

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The court heard people living on the street saw what was happening and rushed to help their neighbour. The victim was described as being in a distressed state, covered in blood, and with a significant wound to her shoulder.

Police were summoned, and when they arrived they found Duffy outside the victim's house - she told officers it was her house, and claimed she had been the victim of a burglary and assault at the hands of the other woman.

The real victim was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital where she was treated for a deep laceration to her shoulder.

In an impact statement read to the court by the prosecutor the victim said the incident had "ruined" her life, leaving her with flashbacks, anxiety, and a constant feeling of "why me?".

She said that since the attack she has spent "so many sleepless nights paralysed by fear" if she hears a noise outside, and has visible scars on her shoulder and patches of thin hair where Duffy pulled her hair out as permanent reminders of what happened.

In the statement she said she had to paint the walls of the hallway of her house to cover the stain marks of her own blood. She concluded: "I'm certain that if I had not fought that day, I would not be here."

Duffy, of East Street, Cannington, Bridgwater, Somerset, had previously pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding when she appeared in the dock for sentencing. She has no previous convictions.

Julia Cox, for Duffy, said the defendant wished, through her, to apologise to her victim.

She said at the time of the offence her client was suffering from psychotic episodes and believed she was Princess Diana reborn, responsible for the coronavirus outbreak and that she was going to be harmed by others.

The barrister said on the day in question the mother-of-two had got into her car and driven away from home after saying goodbye to her children but "how it came to be that she stopped in Newport she cannot explain".

She said when the defendant saw a bridge that reminder her of the Sydney Harbour Bridge she took it as a signal that she was almost home because one of her children was called Sydney and then, after trying to enter a nearby house with her keys genuinely believing it was her own home, she smashed a window to get in. What subsequently happened in the property was "dream-like" to the defendant.

Miss Cox added that since Duffy had been be held on remand she had been stabilised with medication, and there had been no further psychotic episodes.

Judge Michael Filton QC said it was clear from the detailed reports he had read on the defendant that she had been suffering from a psychotic illness in May this year, and that illness had caused the offending. He said it would be a fundamentally important question for those treating Duffy in the future whether it was an "episode" or a "relapsing condition".

The judge made an order under section-37 of the Mental Health Act that Duffy be detained in hospital for treament.

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