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Murderer's Valentines Day attack

PUBLISHED: 12:51 04 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

THE KILLER with a fantasy name inflicted a terrifying Valentine's Day attack on a Suffolk couple after a joke that he was cheating in a "Mr and Mrs" competition.

THE KILLER with a fantasy name inflicted a terrifying Valentine's Day attack on a Suffolk couple after a joke that he was cheating in a "Mr and Mrs" competition.

Lewis Carroll gauged his nails inside a 31-year-old health

worker's mouth, strangling her until she was blue in the face as he dragged her over a table and tried to bite her head.

When the woman's husband struggled to release his wife from Carroll's grip, the killer turned on him - knocking him out with a piece of metal and then kicking his victim as he lay unconscious on the floor.

The brutal double beating was carried out in an Ipswich nightspot on February 14, 2000, during a spoof "Mr and Mrs" contest.

"My husband and I took part in the competition and were knocked out in the semi-finals and

everything was fine," said the health worker of the events leading up to the horrific attack.

Carroll and his blonde partner had reached the finals of the

contest and the 18-stone bouncer had been drinking, she said.

By the last round, the

quizmaster had run out of

questions and was discussing a tiebreak teaser when Carroll craned his neck to overhear.

"He leaned over as if to listen," said Carroll's female victim. "I very gently tapped him on the shoulder and said 'You don't want to listen to that'. He turned around and hurled abuse at me. I backed away and told him I had no

problem with him and the next thing I knew he was strangling me and shaking me from behind.

"He looked very angry, as though he wanted to kill me. I had every belief that he was trying to kill me as he strangled me with both hands. I was absolutely

terrified witless.

"A witness in the trial said my hair was in his mouth and he was trying to bite my head. My

husband intervened and got a punch in the nose which split open his nose and it all calmed down."

But their terror ordeal was far from over for as the landlord asked every one to leave, Carroll turned back to the health worker and snarled obscene threats: "I know you. I know where you are and I'm going to cut your face."

"He leaned over the table where I was sitting with my husband and strangled me again," she said.

"He dragged me across the table by the neck, breaking the table and there was general mayhem as everyone was trying to stop him, including my husband," she said.

"Apparently I was going blue as he strangled me. I couldn't breathe. It seemed as though he was trying to pull my jaw off. He had his fingers in my mouth.

"He was a complete animal and wouldn't stop or calm down. He released one hand to fend off

people trying to get him off me. Then I saw him reach for his

pocket and the next thing, my

husband was unconscious on the floor and bleeding from the head."

Carroll dropped the 6-inch piece of metal he had used to inflict the blow and kicked his second victim as he lay motionless and bleeding.

"He was putting the boot in when he was unconscious. I thought he was killing my

husband. I punched Carroll because I had to try and make him stop. I broke my wrist but he didn't even blink."

Carroll left the pub as his

victims were taken to Ipswich Hospital.

"I had scratches on my face and a damaged neck which will never be right. I also had a broken wrist. I think he probably would have killed me.

"I had to wear a neck brace for several months. There are lots of things I could have done that I can't do now. I can't do my

keep-fit classes or carry a

briefcase."

Her husband was kept in

hospital overnight on 15-minute observations.

The health worker said the attack left her physically hurt as well as scared to go out at night. "I was very anxious afterwards and for a long time was nervous even walking to the car."

The health worker said Carroll's attack came completely out of the blue. "There had been no problems earlier in the night. I'd met him two or three times before and he'd always been drinking orange juice and was fine. That night, I know he was drinking wine and what else I don't know."

During Carroll's trial for the double attack in April this year at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court, the health worker asked to give evidence from behind a screen where Carroll could not intimidate her. She had seen him before since the attack and he had made strangling and throat-cutting gestures to her, she said.

"I requested a screen to reduce his ability to intimidate me but he still was intimidating. He made a lot of noise when he didn't like what I said, kicking the dock."

The victim said that she and her husband plucked up the courage to sit in the public gallery to hear the jury return their guilty verdicts on charges of assault causing grievous bodily harm on her and actual

bodily harm on her husband.

"He turned around and smiled at us a couple of times before the

verdict but then looked

gob-smacked [when the foreman said guilty on both counts]." The verdicts were 11-1 majority

decisions.

The victim described how Carroll slowly unbuttoned his shirt as the Judge sentenced him to prison. "He twisted it in to a rope like thing."

Carroll received a total of two years, three months and two weeks in jail for the two assaults, theft, criminal damage and failing to

surrender to Crown Court in August 2000.

As the killer starts a life

sentence for murder, the health worker said she is counting her blessings that Carroll didn't kill her and her husband too in the Valentine's Day attack. Had she left the pub after his first attempt to strangle her, as the landlord

suggested, she believes she would not be here to tell the tale today.

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