'I just went berserk': Husband threatened wife with a knife and broke stepson's nose with headbutt at their home in Leeds after being accused of having an affair

A husband attacked his wife, threatened her with a knife and broke his teenage stepson's nose with a headbutt after being accused of having an affair.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 11:45 am

Martin Axtell injured his partner by throwing an ornament and held a knife to her chest during the attack at their home in Leeds.

The 55-year-old than headbutted his stepson when he came home from school during the incident on July 3 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Axtell's partner of nine years received a text message from someone informing her that the defendant had been having an affair.

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Leeds Crown Court

The victim replied to the text stating that she was standing by her husband and asked not to be contacted again.

She then contacted Axtell at work informing him about the message and he said to her "don't you start."

Axtell's wife ended the phone call but rang him back and he continued to be verbally aggressive, saying he would 'show her' when he got home.

The couple argued when Axtell returned home and she asked him to leave the property because she was frightened by his aggressive behaviour.

Axtell replied: "I will leave when I have got somewhere to go."

He picked up a silver ornament and threw at it his wife.

It struck her in the chest, causing bruising.

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Mr Bell said Axtell then "lost control" and made threats to kill his partner.

The defendant pinned her against a wall and she banged the back of her head.

She threatened to call the police and Axtell took her mobile phone from her and smashed it on the floor.

The victim went to use the landline to contact emergency services but Axtell picked up a large kitchen knife.

He held the weapon against her chest and said: "I'm going to stab you."

Mr Bell said: "She feared for her life and was unsure what the defendant would do."

Axtell put the knife back in a drawer and the victim called police.

As she was making the call he accused the woman of being a "drama queen."

The victim's 16-year-old son returned home from school during the incident and was shocked to see his mother upset with red marks around her neck.

Axtell and the teenager squared up to each other.

Axtell tried to goad the youth into hitting him before suddenly drawing his head back and headbutting him on the nose.

Axtell drew his arm back as if to punch his stepson but then walked away.

The defendant left the house before police arrived.

Officers found Axtell later that day in his car in Woolpacks Yard, Wakefield.

Axtell said to the officers: "I think you are looking for me, gents."

He added: "I'm sorry. I just berserk."

Axtell, of Newmarket Lane, Methley, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

The woman described in a victim statement how she had suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and weight loss as a result of the ordeal.

She now feels unsafe in her home and has put the property up for sale.

The woman added how she felt isolated and ashamed due to the gossip in her community about the incident.

The teenager described how he had to have time of school after the incident due to his injuries.

Robin Freize, mitigating, "He is deeply ashamed and understands that he has to be punished and appreciates that the court will find what he did to be very unpleasant.

"He has been punishing himself since it happened because he hurt two people who he loves and still loves.

"He is finding it difficult to understand why he behaved in this way and has been so hurtful."

Mr Freize said Axtell had been receiving counselling since the incident to try to understand his behaviour.

Axtell was given a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to attend a 'building better relationships' programme, complete 52 rehabilitation activity requirement days plus 100 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Simon Batiste said: "(The victim) received a text indicating you were having an affair.

"It is irrelevant whether that was right or wrong.

"But your response to this is very difficult to fathom."

Describing the attack on the teenager, Judge Batiste said: "Rather than apologise and coming to your senses, you headbutted him, breaking his nose.

"You could have no complaints today if I sent you to prison."