A MOTHER stabbed a Big Issue seller “because he raped her”, a court heard.

Dressmaker Katherine Bruzas-Quinn, 32, knifed Darren Murphy in the chest in a “cold and calculated” attack outside a Hove supermarket.

She then calmly walked away smiling and dropped the kitchen knife as horrified shoppers looked on.

The blade pierced Mr Murphy’s liver and he spent six weeks in hospital.

“It’s like something out of a nightmare,” he said.

Bruzas-Quinn, who was jailed for eight years, said Mr Murphy had been “controlling and abusive” towards her. She has accused him of rape and police are investigating, the court heard. Mr Murphy denies the allegations she has made against him.

The attack happened outside the Co-op in Dyke Road, Hove, near Seven Dials, in February. Mr Murphy was standing with staff member Jessica Locke when Bruzas-Quinn walked into the store.

She abandoned a bottle of wine at the self-service checkout, then calmly walked out, approached Mr Murphy and stabbed him in his chest.

She then walked away, dropping the knife as shocked onlookers saw Mr Murphy collapse. He was left in a critical condition.

Bruzas-Quinn, of Vernon Terrace in Brighton, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

Natalie Dardashti, prosecuting at Hove Crown Court, said Bruzas-Quinn had an on-off sexual relationship with Mr Murphy when she went to stay with him four years ago.

She said: “He was outside the store speaking to Jessica Locke and as Ms Bruzas-Quinn approached she ignored them and went inside.

“Mr Murphy made a comment to the staff member that he hadn’t been getting on with his missus, indicating towards Ms Bruzas-Quinn. She went to the wine aisle in the store under the pretence to buy a bottle. She then walked calmly towards Darren Murphy, and quickly thrust her hand towards his right side. Jessica thought that Ms Bruzas-Quinn was messing around, as she was smiling as she walked away.

“But Darren said ‘I’ve been stabbed, call an ambulance’.”

Another witness, Ben Mason, saw Bruzas-Quinn “stumble into” Mr Murphy with some force.

Mr Mason called the police and an ambulance while Co-op staff and bystanders wrapped Mr Murphy in blankets and towels to stop the bleeding.

Paramedics saw a 5cm wound in his chest and took him for emergency surgery at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. He developed sepsis, and was taken to King’s College Hospital in London.

He stayed in hospital until March and still needs further surgery.

In his victim impact statement he said: “The area around the wound is still numb and I still feel pain. I was unable to move in hospital for about three weeks.

“It has been hard to come to terms with the fact that my best friend and occasional lover set out to hurt me. It’s like something out of a nightmare. I don’t think she meant to hurt me quite as much as she did. For five minutes of madness she has caused so much hurt.”

Ms Dardashti added: “Ms Bruzas-Quinn chose to put a knife in her handbag, and calmly stab a person standing outside the Co-op.”