A MOTHER from St Albans lost her fight for life eight days after being stabbed three times in the chest and neck, an inquest heard today.

Sandra Crawford suffered serious stab wounds after an apparent unexplained attack was launched on her by her neighbour Jonathan London at her Sherwood Avenue home on the morning of April 8 this year.

During the joint inquest this morning the court also heard Mr London suffered 16 stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is believed that Mrs Crawford's son James Killen, who was seen after the incident holding what was described as a 20cm long chef's knife, came to the rescue of his mother and stabbed Mr London in self-defence.

Giving evidence at Hatfield Coroner's Court forensic pathologist Dr Nathanial Carey, who carried out the post mortems, said 53-year-old Mrs Crawford was airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge on April 30 where she remained in intensive care until May 8 when she died.

He added: “An operation was carried out to save her and she was kept in intensive care where she died.

“She had stab wounds to the chest and abdomen. The important finding was in the chest where the sack around the heart was tense as it had filled up with blood. Her heart had been punctured.”

The court heard how Mr London was taking medication for epilepsy and had a history of mental health issues including hallucinations – which appeared to be caused through the medication he was on.

On April 29, the day before the stabbings, Mr London saw his GP in St Albans with his mother.

In a statement read out by coroner Edward Thomas the GP said: “He seemed confused and his mother said he had not been himself for a week.

“She was concerned that his drugs were making him ill. He was repeating sentences and it seemed he was suffering from drug related side effects.”

It was suggested to Mr London that went to see doctors at Watford General Hospital due to the possibility that he may be suffering from an acute mental health illness.

The court was told how later that day Mr London went to the hospital with his brother Roger.

Family and friends of Mrs Crawford and Mr London – including James Killen - packed out the courthouse in Hatfield for the joint inquest.

Neighbour Claire King, who sat with James after the incident, told the inquest: "He was very distressed, he was shaking and crying and was hysterical and was sobbing.

"He had blood on his hands and his trousers. He told a police officer that he was upstairs drying his hair and heard his mother screaming.

"He said he saw a man he didn't know lying on his mother saying: 'Die die'."

A neighbour's statement read out by coroner Mr Thomas told how he was running in Sherwood Avenue on the morning of April 30.

The statement of Michael Tibble continued: “I saw James standing in the doorway, he was holding a knife which was covered in blood.

“He had blood on his hand and trousers and he was totally hysterical.”

Other witnesses including Mr London's brother Roger London and police officers who attended the scene are due to give evidence at the joint inquest which will determine how Mrs Crawford and Mr London died.

The inquest continues.