Man who stabbed mother pushing pram admits attempted murder

6 August 2020, 13:24

Josephine Conlon was stalked as she walked home
Josephine Conlon was stalked as she walked home. Picture: Metropolitan Police

By Ewan Somerville

A violent man who stabbed a young mother in the face and neck days after his release from prison has admitted trying to kill her. 

Josephine Conlon, 36, had been pushing her baby in a pram in Streatham, south-west London, when she was set upon by Mark Brazant on the afternoon of 30 December last year.

Brazant, who had been freed from jail on Christmas Eve, stabbed her seven times in the face and neck before running off.

At his trial, the 44-year-old, of Ealing, had denied meaning to seriously injure Mrs Conlon. A jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict despite more than 40 hours of deliberations.

But on Thursday, he changed his plea to admit attempted murder after the prosecution called for a retrial.

Mark Brazant, 44, of Ealing, west London, followed Josephine Conlon
Mark Brazant, 44, of Ealing, west London, followed Josephine Conlon. Picture: Metropolitan Police

The original trial heard that Brazant, who has paranoid schizophrenia, had a history of attacking lone women for no reason and on 26 November carried out four assaults in one day.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of battery and one of common assault, but was released on licence from Thameside Prison to spend a year on post-sentence supervision.

Mrs Conlon was returning home after meeting other new mothers at a local bakery when CCTV showed her cross paths with Brazant in the street, prompting the defendant to follow her.

Mrs Conlon told jurors at the Old Bailey that she was shoved, fell into a driveway, and the buggy containing her baby daughter rolled on to the kerb and became wedged next to a parked car.

Mark Brazant changed his plea
Mark Brazant changed his plea. Picture: Metropolitan Police

"I remember thinking he had pushed me into the driveway because he was going to rape me. Then he didn't, he just started hitting me," she said.

"I realised I was being stabbed. I was screaming a lot because I was not in the road so I wanted somebody to hear me.

"I was ducking and trying to get away and trying to get up on to my feet.

"I could feel blood. The adrenaline took away pain but I could feel things dripping."

She added: "I managed to get up on my feet and that's when he turned and ran away."

She screamed for help and neighbours came to her aid before paramedics arrived.

Mrs Conlon, who was supported in court by her husband Greg, was discharged from hospital the next day but continues to have treatment for scars to her face and neck, the court heard.

On 2 January, Brazant walked into Wandsworth police station carrying a knife, and said he had "stabbed a person on the street two days earlier".

During the original trial, he had denied he intended to kill Mrs Conlon, saying he was hearing voices telling him to hurt someone.

He said he chose Mrs Conlon because she was small, female, pushing a buggy and he did not think she would fight back.

Having stabbed her repeatedly, he told himself "that's enough, that will do" and left, he said.

The court heard Brazant was on medication for his mental health condition but had stopped taking it. He had admitted unlawful wounding, but denied attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding with intent.

Brazant entered his new guilty plea via video link from Three Bridges medium secure hospital. 

Mrs Conlon sat in court with her husband by her side.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC set a sentencing date for September 16 and remanded him into custody.