Joanne Hale appeared in Bristol Crown Court for sentencing after being found guilty of attempted murder. Peter Hale, her husband and intended victim, sat quietly only yards from Mrs. Hale as she was sentenced to six years in prison. In an unusual twist, Mr. Hale was not in court to see justice done but to support his wife and attempted murderess.
This unusual story of love, betrayal, and attempted murder began on December 27 2008 when Joanne Hale convinced her husband, Peter, to take a natural aphrodisiac known as “horny goat weed”. She then enticed him into a nearby wooded area in Stoke Park, Bristol with promises of sex. Peter Hale stated in Bristol Crown Court that a migraine mask had been placed on him obscuring his vision, he went on to tell the jury: ‘It was just a kind of sexual game. I enjoyed the game but I lifted it up because I wanted to see.”
After rolling around in the leaves and some flirtatious foreplay Joanne Hale rolled on top of her husband, cut his throat and stabbed him several times. Before she could inflict a fatal wound Hale was interrupted by a passer-by, Timothy Walker, she told him that she had discovered the injured man and would go for help. She then drove to Bristol Parkway railway-station to pick up Philip Sudol, a married postal worker she had met online. The couple had arranged to meet for a romantic encounter. The pair was arrested at Joanne Hale’s home later that evening, Sudol apparently had no knowledge of the crime and was later released.
In an unusual display of devotion her husband and victim has been her greatest supporter and ally throughout the trial. Peter Hale has reportedly sent several letters to the court stating that he has forgiven his wife and declaring his love for her.
During sentencing, Justice John Royce said the loyalty and apparent love between the two “produces a serious sentencing dilemma’. He went on to say “this is an extraordinary case, and I hope and trust that when you are released you and Mr. Hale will be together again enjoying a happy life and steer clear of Horny Goat Weed in the future.’
After hearing the sentence Peter Hale told reporters: “I suppose the sentence is the best we could have hoped for. My evidence was very confused and I hope that we have grounds for an appeal. I still love her very much.” He went on to say “I am still very much in love with my wife and will certainly be standing by her when she is released.”
Joanne Hale, who has reportedly attempted suicide two times since her arrest, must serve at least half of the six-year sentence before she will be eligible for parole. Six years is the minimum sentence allowed by law for the charge of attempted murder.
Peter blew a kiss to Joanne as she was led away to begin serving her sentence.