[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 17:11 GMT
Timeline: Abigail Witchalls
Abigail Witchalls with her son Joseph
Abigail Witchalls was stabbed in front of her toddler, Joseph
Abigail Witchalls was left paralysed after being stabbed in the neck as she pushed her toddler son in his buggy near her home in Little Bookham, Surrey, on 20 April in an attack that shocked the nation.

The attack, in one of Britain's lowest crime areas, sparked a massive police operation and drew intense media attention.

BBC News outlines a chronological timeline of the hunt for her attacker:

20 April 2005 - Mrs Witchalls, 26, is stabbed in the neck at a lane off Burnhams Road, Little Bookham. Her 21-month-old son, Joseph, witnesses the attack.

A neighbour summons help after finding her bleeding from her horrific injury but she is left paralysed and unable to speak.

21 April 2005 - Police release details of the attack to the press and make a public appeal for help to catch the perpetrator.

22 April - Police appeal for help tracing a man and woman seen speeding near the crime scene in a blue Peugeot car.

Abigail Witchalls with her husband and son by her bedside
Mrs Witchalls communicated with police from her hospital bed

A 28-year-old man and 29-year-old woman come forward voluntarily and are arrested.

23 April - Mrs Witchalls' father, Martin Hollins, speaks of the "tremendous shock" of what has happened.

24 April - Police free the woman arrested on 22 April without charge and eliminate her from their inquiry. The man is freed on police bail and is later ruled out as a suspect.

25 April - Still unable to talk, Mrs Witchalls gives a statement to police from her hospital bed at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, by mouthing "yes" and "no" answers.

26 April - Using the same method, Mrs Witchalls describes the attacker and details her ordeal to police. She tells them she saw the man driving a blue estate car.

27 April - A 25-year-old man is arrested in Croydon, south London, in connection with the attack.

29 April - The man arrested in Croydon is released pending further forensic enquiries but police say a huge leap forward has been made.

2 May - Police reveal they have compiled a list of 32 suspects following 700 calls by members of the public. But they face a two-week wait for the result of forensic tests.

4 May - Mrs Witchalls is transferred to a special spinal injuries unit at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, north west London.

A police officer patrols the scene of the stabbing
The scene of the stabbing was sealed off by police

9 May - Mrs Witchalls' elderly grandmother, Monica Kelly, dies suddenly - she is said to be "devastated".

12 May - 23-year-old garden centre worker Richard Cazaly, who lived within 200 yards of the attack scene, apparently commits suicide in Scotland.

Police reveal him to have been a suspect in the case and say DNA tests are being carried out.

They refuse to reveal the contents of an apparent suicide note left by Mr Cazaly but confirm they are examining his blue Volvo car and say officers are travelling to Australia to interview his former girlfriend.

13 May - Police say they are examining knives found in Mr Cazaly's car.

18 May - Mrs Witchalls makes a statement about her improving physical condition, saying she can now breathe on her own and talk for short periods.

She still cannot move her arms or legs but says feeling is returning to her body.

Her husband, Benoit, speaks publicly for the first time on the BBC's Crimewatch programme, following a reconstruction of the attack on his wife and a public appeal.

He insists he and his wife bear no anger towards the knifeman but says whoever it is needs help and that it would be "a tragedy" if he attacked again.

19 May - Police say members of the public came forward with two important leads following the Crimewatch appeal.

It is hoped one caller may be able to help trace two men seen stoking a bonfire who may be important witnesses.

Another may have witnessed the attacker running from the scene.

31 May - Surrey Police bring in specialist tracker dogs that can detect weeks-old smells to search the area of the attack.

Police say the latest searches follow the receipt of new information and are for "outstanding evidence", including the weapon used by the attacker.

12 June - The unborn baby of Abigail Witchalls is developing normally and doing well, the hospital treating her reveals.

30 June - Mrs Witchalls regains movement after initially being left paralysed.

She can now eat, speak, move her arm and hand and sit in a wheelchair.

The orthopaedic hospital treating her says she is recovering "in small but important ways".

3 August - Police hand over a dossier of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Surrey Police had been investigating Richard Cazaly but a spokeswoman would not comment on the contents of the file.

3 November - More the six months after she was first admitted, Abigail Witchalls is discharged from hospital.

She will continue to need ongoing therapy and nursing care.

11 November - Abigail Witchalls gives birth to a baby son. He is born weighing 5lbs 6oz on Friday afternoon at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London.

22 November - The CPS announces Richard Cazaly would have faced criminal charges over the stabbing if he had not been dead.

Det Supt Adrian Harper of Surrey Police says: "The investigation is concluded. All the evidence points to Richard Cazaly as the offender."




SEE ALSO
Two major leads in Abigail appeal
19 May 05 |  Southern Counties
DNA tests on dead Abigail suspect
12 May 05 |  Southern Counties
Abigail inquiry suspect released
29 Apr 05 |  England
Knife held against Abigail's son
26 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Anxious villagers ask 'why here?'
22 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific