A knife thrower who sliced his son’s neck after aiming a nine inch blade across the kitchen in a ‘moment of madness’ was warned to expect a jail sentence.
Darren Oretagu, 54, claimed he’d thrown the knife at his grown-up son after passing out briefly when he was put in a head lock – and denied intending to cause him serious harm.
Jurors at Oxford Crown Court rejected that account, taking less than four hours to unanimously convict him of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Remanding Oretagu into custody, Judge Maria Lamb said she would grant an application from his barrister for a probation report.
But she warned Oretagu: “It has to be understood by you and I am sure it is, the contents of that report goes only to the length of the sentence not the type of sentence.”
The judge refused an application for Oretagu to be bailed ahead of his sentencing on October 7. She’d been asked to allow bail so the NHS worker could return ‘what he needs to return’ to the hospital, put his financial affairs in order and arrange care for his mother.
Judge Lamb told his brief: “The defendant pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm. He was always facing an immediate custodial sentence and it has been a sufficient period of time in my view in which he should have anticipated the need to put his affairs in order.
“I am sorry. He must be remanded in custody. It is too serious an offence for the court to grant bail.”
During the trial, jurors heard how Oretagu’s son went round to the house in Winston Close, Kidlington, the defendant shared with his parents in November 2019. He was angry that he had not been told his grandfather had been in hospital.
He shouted obscenities at his father and grabbed him around the cheeks but denied his dad’s claim that he’d put him in a neck lock. They scrapped before the son went outside.
Put in the stand, the son said been the other side of a door when he heard rustling that ‘could have been’ his father rummaging in a cutlery drawer.
His grandmother shouted ‘no Darren, no’, he claimed. In ‘disbelief’ and worried for his grandmother, the victim opened the door and Oretagu ‘tried to come at him’ with a nine inch carving knife, he said.
He claimed his dad raised his arm above his head and, holding the knife by the blade, threw it at him – comparing the action to that he’d seen his dad use when he was throwing knives at a target.
The victim said he’d felt a jab the noticed ‘lots of blood’. He went outside and, fearing the wounds to his neck would be fatal, called his partner. Both his partner and his grandmother called 999.
His father came outside with a tea towel to staunch the bleeding. He alleged his dad then kicked him in the shoulder, although the claim was denied.
Oretagu had already pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm but denied intending to cause his son serious harm.
He said he had thrown the knife on impulse and was holding the handle – not the blade – when he did so. He claimed he briefly fell unconscious after he was put in a neck lock by his son.
Closing the defence case, his barrister Gordanna Austin said there were ‘no winners’ in the case – regardless of the jury’s verdicts. “You have a father and son who it seems are unlikely to repair their relationship.”
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