Wife screamed “help me” as she was stabbed 10 times by her incarcerated husband before parents’ evening

A DOCTOR stabbed his wife more than 10 times in the chest, neck and back before their child’s parents’ evening as she called out “help.”

dr Ying Zhang attacked his estranged partner Hannan Xiao with a kitchen knife after their split “in a state of cold rage,” a court heard.

dr Ying Zhang was sentenced to 22 years in prison after stabbing his estranged wife more than 10 times after she tried to leave him


dr Ying Zhang was sentenced to 22 years in prison after stabbing his estranged wife more than 10 times after she tried to leave himPhoto credit: Central News
Hannan Xiao was rescued by a bystander who intervened during the attack


Hannan Xiao was rescued by a bystander who intervened during the attackPhoto credit: Central News

The 55-year-old was pulled over by Richard O’Brien, a nearby electrician, who managed to kick the offender with his steel-toed toe boot.

Zhang and Hannan originally met in 2004 and married in 2006 before settling in Watford.

The accused worked as a Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of West London, while Hannan is a Lecturer in Cybersecurity and Director of Online Studies at King’s College London.

Their relationship had been marred by domestic violence for years and several death threats from Zhang, the court heard.

But events came to a head when Hannan found the courage to file for divorce.

Four days before the attack, the defendant had rented a room in a guest house down the street where Hannan was staying.

Zhang used it to track her behavior and take photos of her, the court heard.

Prosecutor Walton Hornsby told the Old Bailey jury that the defendant was in a “state of cold rage” with his wife at having left him.

He told the court: “He wasn’t happy that she had filed that request and asked her if she really wanted a divorce.

“She replied ‘Yes’. He said she ‘should think about it… You’re going too fast.

“He texted her asking for forgiveness and saying he still wants the family and the kids.”

The despised senior lecturer told Hannan to move out of the family home and leave him with her children – a demand she refused.

On the evening of her child’s parents’ evening at Barnet, Hannan did not invite her estranged husband and was unaware of his presence.

But CCTV footage showed the armed attacker following the 52-year-old to her car and a confrontation ensued.

Mr Hornsby told the court: “As she was leaving school she returned to her car and found it behind her.

“He asked to get into the car and said his was broken. She declined, saying she was afraid of him. She said he could take a train.

“She ran out into the street. She recalls him running up to her and holding her, and then “he just stabbed me.”

“She asked him what he was doing and he said nothing. She turned away from him and bared her back to protect her chest and heart.”

The next thing Hannan remembers is an old man trying to stop her bleeding and a woman saying she works in a hospital and is doing her best to help.

Richard O’Brien, who saved the victim’s life, told the jury: “I felt I had to do something or else this lady would lose her life.

“She was struggling to defend herself, lashing out and trying to stop him as best she could.

“As her purse fell away, the knife was revealed and Sven shouted ‘He’s got a knife’ and went back to his car and walked away.

“Initially I decide to nudge my vehicle towards them to try to distract the man, get him out and stop him.

She ran into the street. She recalls him running to her and holding her, and then “he just stabbed me.”

Prosecutor Walton Hornsby

“I made no contact, I moved six inches from their heads.”

Mr O’Brien recalled that Zhang stabbed her near the ribs in a sideways motion.

He described the attacker as 100 percent focused, with nothing around to distract him.

“He had gone absolutely all out and used as much force as possible to try to get to her and hurt her as much as possible,” Mr O’Brien told the court.

“He stabbed her between 15 and 20 times,” he added.

“She was just fighting for her life.”

In a heroic attempt to save the helpless woman, electrician Zhang kicked the right side of his face with steel-toed boots.

“I think it blew his mind. He went down immediately and his body went limp,” he continued.

The prosecutor stated: “She was critically injured and only emergency surgery saved her life.

“She almost died and it was Mr. O’Brien’s act that saved her life.”

She struggled to defend herself, lashing out and trying to stop him as much as she could.”

Richard O’Brien

Prosecutors argued a “toxic history” in Zhang and Hannan’s marriage, and the “seriousness of the stabbing” suggested the defendant had tried to kill his wife.

This “toxic” story was revealed to the court, which heard the defendant accept a warning for assault after a violent argument at their Hatfield home in 2005.

The following year, Zhang threatened to kill Hannan to force her to give him her interest in the family home.

Hannan said her husband threatened to kill her with a knife in 2008 and 2012.

By 2020, the couple split after a battery incident when Zhang accused Hannan of cheating on him with someone at work.

During the 2020 attack, the court heard Zhang tell his wife, “I will kill you one day.”

For safety reasons, Hannan was granted a non-harassment order by Watford Family Court in 2020, but Zhang has violated it on multiple occasions.

Zhang, of Stonecross Road, Hatfield, was found guilty of attempted murder and possession of a bladed object after a February trial.

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Judge Rupert Mayo jailed Zhang for life and ordered him to serve at least 22 years.

The judge had also commended Mr O’Brien and another witness, Sven Kupfer, for saving the victim by attacking Zhang.


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@dailynationtoday.com.

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