Bravery awards for pensioners who wrestled would-be murderer and sat on him until police arrived

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·4 min read
Thuan Dinh was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court of attempted murder. (SWNS)
Thuan Dinh was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court of attempted murder. (SWNS)

A pair of pensioners will receive bravery awards after preventing the murder of a woman by her estranged husband - by sitting on the knifeman until police arrived.

Thuan Dinh, 53, had packed a "murder kit" to kill his ex-wife in a "horrific attack" at her workplace. He has been jailed for 28 years for her attempted murder.

Dinh had tried to strangle and stab his ex-partner to death at the nail bar where she worked as a manager.

The judge praised the actions of Katherine Jordan, 65, and Roger Trask, 75, saying they had "undoubtedly" prevented a murder.

Dinh arrived before the bar opened and lay in wait with a bag containing a piece of rope, petrol and gas cylinders. It was the day after his ex-wife Lien, 50, had got a restraining order against him.

He then used a knife inside the shop to stab her after trying to strangle her with the rope.

He would have likely killed her had Ms Jordan and Mr Trask, who were passing by the VCC Boutique in Tonbridge town centre in Kent, not intervened.

When Lien walked through the door at 9am, she heard footsteps and turned to see Dinh holding the piece of rope between his hands.

Dinh locked the door before wrapping the rope around her neck and attempting to gouge her eyes out with his thumbs.

He also stabbed her in the neck, damaging the muscle and narrowly missing her jugular vein.

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She managed to pull the rope away and immediately shouted for help and tried to run, but he grabbed her by the hair.

With nowhere to go, she pleaded with Dinh not to leave their children without a mother, but this did not stop him.

At this point, Ms Jordan and Mr Trask were walking past the salon and heard her screams.

The pair managed to wrestle Dinh away, allowing his victim to escape, before sitting on him until officers arrived.

The father-of-two was convicted of the attempted murder of his ex-wife and admitted breaching a restraining order at Maidstone Crown Court.

During the trial, his ex-partner said: "In that moment I just thought I had to protect and rescue myself, hence I said that to him.

"I pleaded to him to let go. I asked him to think about the children. I said I didn't want my children to be without a mum."

Judge Philip St John-Stevens commended the courage of Ms Jordan and Mr Trask for tackling the knife wielding attacker.

While Mr Trask was too ill to attend the sentencing, he told Ms Jordan that their intervention had "undoubtedly saved her life".

Both will receive a High Sheriff Award for bravery.

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Ms Jordan said the pair had been on their way to get breakfast when they heard the cries for help.

The court heard how the victim had married in 2011 after she was rescued from a detention centre in Hong Kong before moving to the UK.

But the marriage broke down after Dinh became more and more controlling, and threatened to kill her if she ever left him.

Defence barrister Ben Temple said the brutal attack had been a "knee-jerk reaction" to the court order and the "catastrophic impact" of losing the support of his wife and family.

He told how Dinh had "liberated" his wife 30 years ago from a refugee camp in Hong Kong and said: "It's a terrible symmetry that it should end with his self-destruction."

Dinh, who had been drinking in the early morning, later claimed he was trying to kill himself, but this was rejected by the jury.

During the ordeal, Dinh even kissed his ex-partner before continuing with the attack.

Judge St John-Stevens told Dinh: "I saw you give evidence and I saw little remorse."

Dinh was sentenced to 28 years in prison and given an extended licence period of four years.

The judge said the "horrific" attack, which happened in March 2020, had left the victim with physical and psychological harm.

Detective Chief Inspector Garry Cook said after the sentencing: "Dinh was responsible for a truly horrific assault, which left his victim suffering some quite appalling injuries.

"His actions were clearly premeditated.

"As well as the rope, Dinh had brought with him accelerants and we believe it was his intention to set fire to the shop after the assault.

"I hope today’s sentence will provide some comfort to the victim, who will hopefully be assured that Dinh will have to serve a significant time in prison before he can be considered for release.

"I would also like to thank those members of the public who bravely intervened and prevented Dinh from causing any further harm, and whose prompt actions may have even saved the victim’s life."

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