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Rabbit man is jailed for stabbing rival

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: April 25, 2014

By JEFF WELLS

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wdnews@b-nm.co.uk

A jealous lover who stabbed a love rival while dressed as a giant rabbit has been jailed.

Mark Pritchard, 46, put on the animal outfit head and called at the home of his gay former partner Lee Corbin – who he knew was on holiday.

Pritchard, clutching roses and love notes, then persuaded his ex-partner's new boyfriend, Martin Williams, that he was carrying a "special delivery" from Lee.

After reading a number of love letters, written by Pritchard, Mr Williams was persuaded to blindfold himself and wait in the bed for "some treasure".

But Pritchard tried to knock out Mr Williams with a handkerchief covered in chloroform and then began stabbing him.

He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison after admitting wounding with intent to cause serious bodily harm.

Prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, Giles Nelson said: "The defendant arrived at the house wearing all black and a large rabbit head and was carrying roses and other gifts. His attempts at persuading Mr Williams he was a romantic gift sent by his partner were very convincing and he followed the instructions given in the letters by Mr Pritchard. Following a struggle Mr Williams suffered two stab wounds to the hip and one to the neck. Mr Pritchard then carried him downstairs into the living room where Mr Williams begged him for help, telling him he would die otherwise."

The incident happened at 6pm on October 3, 2013, after Pritchard, from Warminster, Wiltshire, rang the intercom claiming to have a special delivery. He persuaded Williams the delivery was a romantic gesture from his holidaying lover, the court heard. After persuading him to lie and wait in bed with a blindfold on, Pritchard, who has worked in care his whole life, attempted to use chloroform to make Mr Corbin pass out.

But a struggle began between the pair and Pritchard, whose rabbit head was knocked off, began to stab his rival in what the judge described as "jealous rage".

The court heard Mr Williams even sent a text to his boyfriend ending the relationship during the ordeal in an attempt to placate his attacker.

Mr Nelson said: ''Pritchard fled the scene after giving Mr Williams towels to hold against his wounds. Pritchard was found by police the same day and a number of receipts were found in his car, for items including roses and costume hire."

Mr Williams, from Bristol, suffered two stab wounds to the hip, one to the neck and multiple defensive injuries.

On sentencing, Lord Justice Ford said: "This was done in jealous rage but it wasn't spontaneous – it had been planned. I take into account that you are a man of 46 years with no prior convictions but this is a case that shows signs of pre meditation. It seems to me that the aggravating features of this case significantly outweigh the mitigating ones.

"You will serve eight years and eight months and I will also be issuing a restraining order for Mr Corbin and Mr Williams."

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