Daughter's bravery stopped jealous dad from stabbing wife to death

Petrit Zefi, from Bugle has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for attempting to murder his wife Natalie on November 11, 2023 in Newquay
Petrit Zefi, from Bugle has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for attempting to murder his wife Natalie on November 11, 2023 in Newquay -Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police

An alcoholic, domineering and jealous man who tried to stab his wife to death in front of their young daughter has been locked up for years. Petrit Zefi, 44, from Station Road, Bugle, near St Austell, was found guilty of one charge of attempted murder during a two-day trial last week.

Appearing before Truro Crown Court for sentencing today (Friday, May 17), Judge Robert Linford told the Albanian national there was no doubt that had it not been for the intervention of his own daughter and her friend he would killed his wife Natalie during the attack on November 11 last year.

During the trial it was heard that Zefi, who first entered the UK illegally in 2000 on the back of a lorry from France before moving to the Birmingham area, was such a controlling man that he forbade Natalie, the mother of their four children, to have her own phone or go anywhere on her own. He would even have to be in the car with her on the school runs when the children were younger.

You can read our coverage of the trial here:

Zefi also controlled any money she received from state benefits and a small furniture refurbishment business they ran together. The court was told that on November 11 last year, while staying at family friend Katie Cook's house in Newquay, Zefi closed the door of the room where Katie and his daughter Hanna were in, before making his way to the bedroom where Natalie and their younger daughter Lola were.

Zefi came into the room, closed the door behind him having picked up a very sharp knife from the kitchen before that, then lunged at his wife as she sat on the bed with their six-year-old girl. He stabbed his wife once on the top of the head which caused the knife's tip to snap and become imbedded in her skull then stabbed her again on top of the head. Natalie then put her arm up in self defence and Zefi stabbed her in the left wrist.

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As Natalie screamed, her daughter Hanna came in and with Katie and they tried to pull Zefi off his wife and disarm him. Zefi dropped the knife and fled the property shouting 'she's cheating on me' and was later arrested by police outside a nearby pub.

Judge Linford told Zefi that he was in no doubt that Natalie owed her life to the gallant and brave intervention of their daughter Hanna and that of Katie who managed to disarm him.

Ramsay Quaife, defending, said there some elements of mitigation in Zefi's favour in that it had not been a premeditated attack but a spontaneous act and that he suffered from a mental disorder and learning disabilities. Mr Quaife said Zefi had written to Judge Linford to express his remorse.

He added: "He had a difficult and deprived upbringing in Albania. He lost both his parents. He served in the army in Albania and fought in Kosovo whether he liked it or not. He was financially providing for his family. This was not a premeditated attack."

Sentencing Zefi to 15 years in prison, including two thirds before he will be eligible for parole, Judge Linford said: "You had saturated yourself with alcohol, again. And to your own admission had taken cocaine. What happened was a spontaneous. Your daughter saw you go past her room and go into the kitchen twice. You selected a knife and took it to the room where your wife was.

"When you picked up the knife you knew what you were going to do. You launched this murderous attack on your wife and stabbed her twice in the head and the tip of the blade broke off and got stuck into her skull where it still is today.

"Your daughter and her friend came into the room. In an act of astonishing gallantry and bravery they subdued you and disarmed you. If they hadn't there is no doubt you would have killed your wife. You fled and were arrested by the police later.

"This incident happened in a domestic context, while you were under the influence of alcohol and drugs while a small child was present. You were convinced, irrationally, that your wife was having an affair when she was not. You made some threats against her before. You recognise in your letter where you have gone wrong and expressed a desire to change. But this was a very serious offence."