Lodger slashed at her landlady in 'Psycho'-like attack

Courtland Road, Raquel Villa-Rodriguez and the knife used in the attack Pictures: Google, Thames Valley Police, CPS
Courtland Road, Raquel Villa-Rodriguez and the knife used in the attack Pictures: Google, Thames Valley Police, CPS

A landlady feared she would be stabbed to death by her lodger in a knife attack she compared to Alfred Hitchcock thriller Psycho.

Raquel Villa-Rodriguez, 49, had been given her notice by her older landlady in Courtland Road, Oxford, over concerns about her excessive drinking and erratic behaviour.

On May 21, having returned from a trip to see her parents in Spain, showed her older landlady ‘horror film’ pictures on her phone while ranting in Spanish.

Later, she grabbed the sharpest knife from the kitchen and slashed at the older woman while pinning her down on a sofa.

Prosecutor Matthew Walsh said: “In her statement she describes [it] being like the image from the film Psycho in the way she was holding the knife and moving it.”

In a moving victim personal statement read from the witness stand, the landlady told Oxford Crown Court on Friday: “The worst scars are in my mind. It is extremely distressing that Raquel cut my face and neck with the knife.

“She also hovered the knife over my heart and I thought I was going to be stabbed to death.”

The woman said she was ‘terrified’ that her former lodger would return to kill her. She paid tribute to her two neighbours, one of whom was in the room at the time of the attack and another who saw the attack through the window. She said the neighbours had ‘saved my life’.

“I believe that Raquel is a threat to the public,” she told the court.

Arrested by the police, Villa-Rodriguez raved on the way back to the police station. She told police officers: “I will never come out because I want to kill this b****.”

The landlady was found to have suffered a number of wounds and grazes to her head, arms, thumb and foot. Her neighbour, who tried to pull Villa-Rodriguez off her friend, was also injured.

Appearing in court via video link from prison, the defendant read from a letter that spoke of her remorse. “The drink seems to have had a horrible effect on me,” she said.

Peter du Feu, mitigating, said his client had no previous convictions and had struggled with her mental health and drinking in the past. Both her parents, who lived in Spain, were very unwell and she planned to return to the Iberian peninsula.

Villa-Rodriguez, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and causing actual bodily harm.

Rehearsing the facts of the attack, Recorder Michael Roques said: “She was no doubt absolutely terrified and thought that she was about to die at your hands.”

Jailing her for four-and-a-half years, he told Villa-Rodriguez: “The attack that day had a devastating and ongoing impact on both [the landlady] and [the injured neighbour].

“The physical injuries that they received may heal, but the psychological impact of what you have done will have a very much longer effect on them.”

She had ‘destroyed any sense of safety’ her former landlady was entitled to feel in her own home, he said.

A restraining order bans the defendant from contacting her two victims for life.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward