Ahmed Ismail Ali repeatedly stabbed girlfriend in Cardiff shop

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Media captionThe chilling moments before an attempted murder

A man who repeatedly stabbed his girlfriend with a screwdriver in front of shocked shopkeepers has been jailed for 14 years for her attempted murder.

Ahmed Ismail Ali, 34, subjected Olivia Spinks, then 26, to a "shocking and remorseless" attack at her flat and at a Premier Store in Grangetown, Cardiff.

Ali, drunk, high on drugs and paranoid, believed she had been in a relationship with another man.

He admitted the 24 February attack at a previous Cardiff Crown Court hearing.

Judge Eleri Rees described the attack as an "appalling catalogue of violence", and ordered Ali, of Butetown, to serve five years on extended licence after his custodial sentence ends.

'Going to die'

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Ali's attack against Olivia Spinks was an "appalling catalogue of violence", Judge Eleri Rees said

Ali and Ms Spinks had been in a relationship for four years, during which Ali had been abusive, the court heard on Thursday.

On Sunday, 24 February, Ali went to Ms Spinks' flat and beat her repeatedly with a brick after he became "paranoid" she was seeing someone else.

As she attempted to escape, he told her she was "going to die today".

Eventually, she managed to flee and, still in her pyjamas, ran to a nearby shop on the corner of Cornwall Street and Stafford Road where she stood outside and called 999.

When Ali caught up with her, Ms Spinks sought refuge in the shop but he forced his way inside and stabbed her repeatedly in the head and neck with a screwdriver he had taken from the flat.

The court was shown CCTV footage from inside the store, which showed Ms Spinks lying in a pool of her own blood as Ali continued to stab her.

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Armed police swooped on a taxi Ali was riding in after another taxi driver tipped police off

Ms Spinks was able to momentarily get to her feet and walk outside, at which point she collapsed.

As she lay on the floor bleeding, she was heard saying: "I'm dying, I know I'm dying. Tell my mum I love her."

Ms Spinks was taken to the University Hospital of Wales with "life threatening injuries", where doctors established she had three separate fractures to the skull.

But she was fortunate, the court heard, that none of her vital blood vessels had been severed. She left hospital two days later.

Image caption The attack took place in the Grangetown area of Cardiff

After the attack, which lasted between two and three minutes, Ali got in a taxi.

Another taxi driver, Muhammad Iqbal, saw what happened and followed Ali's taxi while on the phone to police.

He was able to give them a precise location, and armed officers swooped on Ali's taxi at traffic lights in Callaghan Square, Butetown and arrested him.

'Shocking and remorseless'

The court also heard Ali had tried to buy two 12-inch "meat carver" knives from the Ferry Road Asda store in Cardiff Bay just two hours before the attack, but was refused sale because he did not have identification.

Judge Eleri Rees said she had "no doubt" Ali would have used those knives on Ms Spinks had he been able to buy them.

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption South Wales Police praised Asda staff for refusing Ali the sale of two 12-inch "meat carver" knives, which the judge had "no doubt" he would have used

"It was a shocking and remorseless attack," Ms Rees added.

The court heard Ali has seven previous convictions, including for wounding with intent to cause GBH when he stabbed a man in the stomach in 2012, which he had served six years in prison for.

Defending Ali, David Elias QC accepted the attack was "awful and terrible", but said his client had written to the court to express his remorse and sympathy to Ms Spinks and her family.

Mr Elias added that Ali had had a difficult upbringing. He was born in Somalia and raised as an orphan when he came to Cardiff, the court was told.

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