A woman whose husband is accused of trying to murder her over her affair told jurors she was “never afraid” of him during their twenty-year relationship.

Amanda O’Riordan, 47, gave evidence yesterday on the second day of her husband’s trial, also telling jurors he had “smashed my crockery” following an argument about a month before the attack.

Joseph O’Riordan, 73, is accused of trying to murder her at the couple’s flat in Guardian Court, Polegate, by stabbing her repeatedly three weeks after learning of her affair with their former postman. They had renewed their wedding vows six months before.

Under cross-examination from her husband’s lawyer, Peter Doyle QC, Mrs O’Riordan told jurors that she felt smothered over the previous few months and wanted to end the marriage.

Giving evidence from behind a curtain screen, she said he had told her he would kill himself if she left him. She added: “How could I leave him?

“I said that I would not leave him, I would always care for him. I don’t want his death on my conscience, thank you very much.”

The court heard that Mr O’Riordan had confronted his wife about a possible affair three weeks before the alleged attempted murder, and she had admitted it.

Prosecutors said the affair was the “catalyst” for Mr O’Riordan stabbing her repeatedly in the bedroom of their home after they had been shopping with her mother.

In an earlier police interview played to the court, Mrs O’Riordan told police that her husband told her he had her followed by friends and a private investigator.

She said had made her feel “awful” and like she did not want to go anywhere, adding: “I said that I would not go anywhere as I would always be thinking that somebody was watching or following me [...] I could not feel comfortable ever again knowing that I was being watched.”

She told police her husband might be seen by some as domineering, “but I always put it down to, you know, he was a man who knows what he wants or what direction he wants to take and I have always not had any problem with that”.

On the witness stand, she said he had smashed her crockery following an argument.

The next day, September 27, her husband called police to report her missing after she had not come home by the early hours of the morning, jurors were told.

She recalled telling police, “I replied that yes I was [OK], I had an argument with my husband and I just needed a break and they would contact him and say I was ok.”

The court also heard how her husband, who was arrested on the night of the attack, had written to her in February asking her to give his son his suit for the trial, and other personal matters.

Jurors also heard Mrs O’Riordan’s lover, Nicholas Gunn, then living in Portslade, had called her husband in the early hours of the morning a few weeks before the attack.

Mr O’Riordan denies attempted murder.

The trial continues.



NEARLY six months after he allegedly tried to murder her, Joseph O’Riordan sent his wife a letter from jail asking for his suit for his trial, the court heard.

In a letter dated February 4, 2015, and which his wife said she received later at home, Mr O’Riordan wrote that he had been told she would be getting his things together, and could she pass on some things to his son.

He said: “I would be grateful if you could give (my son) the following which I would like to have in here: “My rosary from the car; I still require its protection; my blue suit, three ties that will go with that. I need all that for my trial.”

He goes on to says he needs a decent jacket because it is “too cold” to exercise outside, and complains about a policewoman not helping him get his things.

He ends by saying: “You will be fully aware that I do not make any mention of the case.

“That said I hope and pray that your recovery continues to progress and you are and will always remain in my heart. God bless, Joe.”

He continued: “Ps I assume your mother received the letter of apology [...] Please include my Freemasonry bible when doing your bits for [my son].”

Yesterday at Brighton Crown Court, Mrs O’Riordan faced repeated questions about her relationship with her husband, whom she had known since her early twenties, under cross examination from his lawyer.

Peter Doyle QC recalled how the couple had renewed their vows in April of 2014, about six months before the attack.

He asked her about how her husband had bought her Chanel perfume for her upcoming birthday and planned to take her to the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne as was their normal tradition.

Mrs O’Riordan agreed those points, but says she started to feel smothered in the marriage over the previous six or seven months.

She had an affair with the former postman, who had since moved to Portslade, saying he helped her be “more me”.

She told jurors: “I did not want to be ‘Joe’s wife’ or ‘the lady that does all the catering or she will do this, she will do that’.”

The 47-year-old added: “I never intended to do anything like this in the first place. Yes it happened.

“I could talk about the weather if I wanted to, or just me [...] or watch TV, or do nothing.”

Her husband found out she was having an affair after confronting her, but did not know who the lover was, the court heard. Yet about nine days later, Nicholas Gunn phoned the couple’s landline in the early hours of the morning, and Mr O’Riordan answered.

“You never expected Nick to ring home, did you?” Mr Doyle asked. “No,” she agreed.

Mr Doyle continued: “It was the worst possible thing that he could have done?” She replied: “It did not help the situation very much.”

There were heated exchanges between husband and lover, the court heard, with Mr O’Riordan hanging up and Mr Gunn ringing back.

Mr O’Riordan told his wife to tell Mr Gunn the affair was over, which she did, she recalled. She told her husband that Mr Gunn’s name was ‘Tommy’, his nickname, adding: “I was not going to give him the real name because at the end of the day he did not need to know it, and I did not want anybody to get hurt for something I had done.”

She recalled how Mr O’Riordan then asked her to write down his number from 1471.

The court heard that on October 22, Mr O’Riordan told his wife that he had received a call from a private investigator telling her there was no such number, prompting him to accuse her of lying. It was later that evening that he stabbed her repeatedly with a knife, before calling an ambulance, the court heard.

Speaking to police last year after the incident, in a video played to the court, Mrs O’Riordan said she had “never seen him be violent to anybody or definitely not me in the whole time that I had been with him”. She later recalled an incident years ago in which he had punched a wall.

She added: “Well you know he was a passionate man, if you like, on things that mattered to him, if there was something that was important to him he could get worked up and he was generally sort of vocal but never directed towards me.”

Asked more about his behaviour, she added: “For example he is a councillor in Polegate and there might be an issue to do with Polegate, that is for the best of Polegate, and there was opposition. He would be quite upset, because this was the best way to go and he could be quite vocal about that.”

She said she had wondered whether her husband suffered from depression due to recent mood swings, but that he did not want to go to a doctor.

She added he seemed to struggle with her saying the marriage was over. She said: “He said he wished he did not love me as much as he loved me because it would have been easier. He said, ‘Maybe I should finish you off now then finish off myself and [we] would not have any problems then’. I said, ‘well that is one way of looking at it’. I did not really answer it because I did not take any notice of it I did not think it was a serious comment.”

The trial continues.