Stagehand, 56, who was working on Anne Hathaway film The Witches is found guilty of slashing colleague’s neck with Stanley knife in row over cup of tea

  • Johnny Walker, 56, was found guilty of stabbing his colleague in the neck
  • Darren Langford, 44, told St Albans Crown Court he thought he was dying
  • The pair were working together on the set of Anne Hathaway film The Witches 
  • Walker was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm 

A 56-year-old stagehand has been found guilty of slashing his colleague’s neck with a Stanley knife after a row over the last cup of tea on the refreshments table.

Johnny Walker, 56, stabbed his colleague Darren Langford, 44, after ‘bad blood’ simmered while the pair worked together on the set of Anne Hathaway’s film The Witches in Leavesden, Hertfordshire.

During a trial at St Albans Crown Court Mr Langford told a judge Walker took the two last cups of tea before calling him a ‘c***’ and a ‘grass’.

Walker, from Borehamwood, was yesterday found guilty of wounding the father-of-five with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm at the Warner Bros studios in 2019.   

Walker, who had earlier admitted a lesser charge of unlawful wounding, will be sentenced in May to allow his defence team to obtain medical reports showing he suffers from anxiety and depression.

Johnny Walker (pictured), 56, stabbed his colleague Darren Langford, 44, after ‘bad blood’ simmered while the pair worked together on the set of Anne Hathaway’s film The Witches in Leavesden, Hertfordshire

Recorder Stephan Lennard told him a substantial sentence will still be inevitable, saying: ‘You have been convicted by the jury of a very serious offence.’

During the two-day trial a judge heard Mr Langford and Walker were working on the set where the film version of the Ronald Dahl children’s book was shot when ‘bad blood’ escalated because Mr Langford was taking on extra work.  

On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, both men joined other stage builders in an outside yard for a refreshment break. 

At around 12.30pm Mr Langford went to help himself to the last cup of tea. 

Turning around to see Mr Langford coming, Walker proceeded to take it and sat down with two cups of tea by his side, prosecutor James Lachkovic said. 

Mr Langford told the court he had known Mr Walker for around 18 months at the time as they met while working on another film at the Shepperton Film Studios.

He said he arrived at the yard to see other workers helping themselves to refreshments that had been laid out by the stage area.

Walker, from Borehamwood, was yesterday found guilty of wounding the father-of-five with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm at the Warner Bros studios in 2019. Pictured, Anne Hathaway in The Witches

He told the jury: ‘I approached the stage and could see John almost glance over his shoulder at me with a tea in his hand and grab the last remaining tea. I thought this is getting childish.’

‘I should have walked away. I told myself don’t rise to it.

‘I thought while everyone is here I am going to ask him what his problem is. I said “John, why have you taken my tea”. He said “I have not taken your tea, I am saving it for the driver”.’

Mr Langford told the court he tried to point out the driver wasn’t present and hadn’t been all morning. 

‘I then said “Why are you being such a c… to me”, and he stood up with a very angry face and said “because you are a c… You are a grassing c…”.’

He told the court by now the defendant was challenging him to go to the back of the stage to fight.

‘I had no intention of fighting him. I mentioned his age and my age.. I said we are not at school – grow up,’ said Mr Langford. 

‘He said “I am 54 and I could still iron you out” I said “You probably could, but we are not at school”.’

Mr Langford (pictured) told the court he had known Mr Walker for around 18 months at the time as they met while working on another film at the Shepperton Film Studios

The court was told Walker began to walk towards the other man with a ‘snarl on his face’. 

Walker then raised his right hand and pressed his fist into Mr Langford’s left cheek. 

‘I said “Go on, get it over with, hit me”, and with that he said “I am going to cut that grin off your face”.

Mr Langford ‘almost froze’ after he heard the word ‘cut’ and saw the blade of a Stanley knife protruding from the defendant’s hand.  

After threatening to ‘cut that grin off your face’, Walker slashed at Mr Langford’s neck and left him fearing for his life to the point he called his wife to say he loved her.     

Mr Langford told a jury when his put hand up to touch the wound he could feel his little finger enter his flesh.

Thinking an artery might have been severed as blood poured from his neck, he said he thought he was going to die.               

He said: ‘In my head I was thinking this has gone way too far and I pleaded with him to put the knife down. I was saying “You are going to lose your job John. Just put the knife down” but he had gone – his eyes were wild.

‘All the time he had got that snarl and he was saying “I am going kill you, I am going to cut you”.’

‘He lunged so quickly and I dodged back and felt it hit my throat. I was in sheer panic mode.

‘My fingers went into the cut so I knew it was a bad cut. I was in a panic thinking I was going to bleed out.’

‘I thought that’s it I am done for, you don’t survive having your throat cut. I had accepted I was going to die.’

Mr Langford said he feared the main artery in his neck had been severed and when a paramedic turned up to treat him, he asked him to inspect the wound.

He told the jury ‘He said I can see it – it’s not been cut.’

Walker told the jury he had only wanted at first to frighten his colleague. He claimed he lashed out intending to punch Mr Langford and didn’t mean to cut him.

He was granted bail while he awaits sentence. 

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