Defendant punches woman judge

A woman judge was taken to hospital from the Old Bailey today after she was injured in a terrifying attack in court.

Judge Ann Goddard, 64, lay on the floor bleeding from her face after a man accused of killing his partner with a sword leaped out of the dock and punched her.

He struck several punches before barristers, police and court officials grabbed him.

Judge Goddard had just adjourned the case so the man could consult with his legal representatives.

He had been accused of killing his female partner by striking her 44 times, and was facing charge of murder or manslaughter.

A barrister in court said: "He vaulted out of the dock and ran straight to the judge. He was so quick no one could stop him.

"He punched Judge Goddard several times and there was blood all over the place. There were several blows.

"Everyone in court ran to the front of the court and pounced on him and he was taken away.

The judge was more worried about the safety of everyone else rather than herself."

The first person to reach the attacker was Detective Constable John Nicholson who said: "I was the first person to jump on him."

Another observer said: "I went into court after the attack. The judge was lying on the floor receiving attention from the court matron. Then she was helped out of court and taken to hospital by ambulance."

Judge Goddard, daughter of a former senior police officer, has been a familiar figure at the Old Bailey for a number of years - both on the bench and earlier as a barrister.

Educated at Grey Coat Hospital (school), Westminster, Birmingham University and Newnham College, Cambridge, she was quickly recognised for her analytical legal mind.

She is among senior Old Bailey judges tipped to succeed the Common Serjeant of London, Neil Denison, when he retires this year.

She was called to the Bar, Gray's Inn, in 1960 and was made a Recorder 19 years later. She has been a circuit judge since 1993.

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