Man tried to become comic book character by stabbing teen in park toilets

Connor Deegan, 22, of no fixed address, was jailed for nine years and four months at Inner London Crown Court

Connor Deegan, 22, of no fixed address, was sentenced to nine years and four months’ imprisonment at Inner London Crown Court. - Credit: Met Police

A man who believed he had a comic-book alter-ego has been jailed for stabbing a woman in a park’s public toilets.

Connor Deegan, 22, of no fixed address, was sentenced to nine years and four months’ in prison at Inner London Crown Court today, having previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder, theft and possession of an offensive weapon. 

About 5.30pm on February 17 last year, Deegan lured his 18-year-old victim to the toilets at Little Ilford Park, pretending he was taking her to Ilford railway station.

Deegan, who was known to the victim, asked her to come into the toilets with him as he had a surprise for her.

The victim went with him and once inside, she was stabbed repeatedly in her neck and stomach.

She lay motionless until Deegan left the scene then, seriously injured, managed to make her way to a nearby house for help.

The victim was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to The Royal London Hospital, where she received life-saving treatment for extremely serious injuries. 

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Det James Cronin, of the North East BCU Safeguarding Unit, said: "Deegan committed a cold, calculated and savage attack on a victim who is very lucky to have survived.

"Had it not been for the help she received from the community immediately following the attack, and the assistance provided by first responders and medical specialists, the outcome could have been even more severe.

“For the victim, the resulting scars from this incident will not only be physical, and they will last far beyond the healing of wounds. 

"I would like to thank all the witnesses from the local community who came forward to assist our investigation and the many police officers and medics who have helped remove this dangerous individual from our streets.”

Detectives established that Deegan had told people, as he fled the scene, that he wanted to “give her a choke-hold" that he believed would turn him into TV and comic book character The Punisher, then take her to the park and kill her. 

Deegan was arrested at a nearby address and was in custody within six hours of the attack. 

He was still wearing blood-soaked clothing and in possession of a bag containing the items he had prepared to use in the attack: a large combat knife, a balaclava, black gloves and a pocket knife. 

The blood found on the combat knife and on Deegan’s clothing was tested and found to be the victim’s.

It was also established Deegan's mobile phone was at the scene when the attack took place.

During their investigation, detectives found images of Deegan dressed as The Punisher and text messages where he wrote about creating his own weaponry, including self-made body armour. 

He also attended local cosplay events in the guise of the character.

When Deegan appeared at Inner London Crown Court on July 30 last year, five days before he was due to stand trial, he pleaded guilty to a Section 20 wounding and possession of an offensive weapon. 

This plea was accepted by the court with the offence of theft to lie on file. 

In an impact statement presented to the court, the victim said the attack had a dramatic effect on her life. 

She described having regular panic attacks and crying uncontrollably for hours and having been left with lifelong physical scars.

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