'We are going to die tonight' - WGC man on trial for attempted murder of ex-lover

Darryl Harding is on trial at St Albans Crown Court.

Darryl Harding is on trial at St Albans Crown Court. - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A Welwyn Garden City man attempted to murder a former partner after telling her: “We are going to die tonight,” a jury heard.

Darryl Harding, 53, had subjected the victim to controlling or coercive behaviour for nearly five years before that, it was alleged.

Prosecutor Philip Misner told St Albans Crown Court Harding had been in a relationship with the 43-year-old for at least six years.

He said: “During that time he belittled her to destroy her self-esteem. He made her feel small and worthless.”

He said on one occasion Harding set fire to her kitchen curtains and on another he threw two turtles from a tank into the garden where they died. He is said to have smashed her iPhones because he did not want anyone else talking to her.

“He smashed the front offside window of her car, punched her in the face and pulled her out of the car. He repeatedly punched her in the hallway of their home.

“He smashed TVs, mirrors, photos and punched holes in the kitchen and hall walls.”

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Mr Misner alleged he had thrown her around the room and had beaten her up several times.

“He threatened to burn a neighbour’s house down because the neighbour had helped her clean up after one of his violent tantrums -nothing of course would be his fault,” he said.

The woman reported him to the police in April last year and he was bailed and told not to have any contact with her.

Despite the bail conditions, they met at the Chieftain Pub in Welwyn Garden City. She recorded some of the conversation in which the prosecutor said he “treated her with contempt” and “put her down”.

After they left the Chieftain, they went on to the Homestead Court Hotel in the town where Mr Misner alleged he complained he had been “stitched up".

He went on: “He smashed the TV in the room. He punched the shower screen when she was in bath, seized her in the bath and started to strangle her."

The jury was told the noise led to the police being called. When the officers arrived she said everything was okay. He was arrested for breach of bail and bailed again telling officers: “This is what happens when you break up with your girlfriend.”

When questioned he denied assaulting her, saying she was lying and setting him up.

Harding was bailed to a friend’s address. The woman visited him there on Saturday January 30. Mr Misner said: “The two of them drank wine. He started shouting at her saying he was worried about going to prison and that she was seeing another man.”

After telling her: “We are both going to die to night,” he had sex with the woman. The prosecutor said he continued to talk about the other man before she saw him go over to a book case.

“Standing with a leg each side of her he slashed her right wrist and cut her throat with a Stanley knife. He then slashed at his own neck when the others became involved,” said Mr Misner.

The woman locked herself in a bathroom until the police arrived. Harding was arrested and taken to St Mary’s Hospital in London where he received stitches to his neck. When two police officers went to take him to custody in Herts he grabbed a pair of scissors. When one of the officers took the scissors away, Harding ran off.

He was chased through the hospital but came to some locked doors and was arrested after Parva spray had been used on him. He answered no comment to police questions on that occasion.

Harding of Little Hardings, WGC, denies controlling or coercive behaviour December 29 2015 to October 8 2020, attempted murder on  January 31 2021 with an alternative charged of wounding with intent and escaping from custody on the same day.

The jury is expected to go out for deliberations this afternoon.