Motiveless stabber from Hornchurch with “troubled” past caged for six years

�A stabbing victim nearly bled to death after he was knifed and bottled when he was dozing in his armchair.

Paul Hooper thought Fred O’Donnell, 46, was his friend until the attack in his flat, in High Street, Romford.

Mr Hooper, 50, had to be airlifted to hospital and lost almost half of his blood, but the motive for the attack is still largely unclear.

O’Donnell claimed he suffered a troubled childhood in which he was sexually assaulted as a child.

He has a long list of previous convictions including several for violence and has been caught with a knife six times.

Prosecutor Henrietta Paget told the Old Bailey jury last week O’Donnell knifed Mr Hooper at the victim’s flat above a shop on June 1 last year.

“This was a unprovoked attack. Mr Hooper was in his own home, dozing in his own chair.

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“He could not have come closer to losing his life,” she said.

Mr Hooper suffered “life-threatening” injuries, including wounds to his face, arm and left flank and a deep gash to his abdomen.


Miss Paget added: “The offence had a very considerable effect on Mr Hooper. He still does not know why O’Donnell did it to him.”

The victim’s daughter had to adapt her home to help look after her dad and had to help with his most intimate bodily functions.

Laura Brickman, defending said O’Donnell’s troubled childhood had “led to a downward spiral of self-harm and drug abuse.”

“Clearly this was the spark that lit the focus to a number of issues the defendant has to face,” she said. “While there is no excuse for him offending there is certainly a reason for it,” she added.

O’Donnell, of Artesian Close, Hornchurch, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He had been accused of attempted murder but the charge was dropped.

Sentencing Judge Timothy Pontius told O’Donnell: “Mr Hooper was defenceless when you attacked him.

“He had no weapon, he made no threat either by words or by gestures to make you think for one minute that you were in danger.

“He lost a great deal of blood and no doubt he would have died but for the prompt surgical intervention.”

O’Donnell was given an indefinite sentence for public protection and ordered to serve at least six years before he can be released on parole.