Ajax woman testifies that husband tried to cut her throat

With a heavy bandage around her neck, Cathy-Lee Martin of Ajax testified in a Jamaican court Tuesday that her husband tried to slit her throat while on vacation.

She and her husband, Paul Martin, were having marital problems, she said tearfully, the Jamaican Observer reported from the courthouse in Falmouth, near Montego Bay. A second bandage was wrapped around her left thumb.

Cathy-Lee Martin said she is the manager of a Royal Bank. Her husband, 43, teaches Grade 5 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic elementary school. They have two children, ages 2 and 5.

The woman, who broke down in tears several times, said she and her husband arrived in Jamaica on Dec. 18 and were to return to Canada two days before Christmas.

The couple checked out of the Rose Hall St. James resort in Montego Bay, but instead of heading to the airport her husband drove their rental car in the opposite direction, she said.

He told her he wanted to take pictures of a cliff, the newspaper reported her as saying. Instead, he turned off the main road to a secluded spot where he allegedly slit her throat twice with a knife and attempted to strangle her, she testified.

She said he didn’t say anything during the attack. When she asked why he did it, he accused her of having an affair with a man in Canada, a charge she denied.

He drove her back to the main road. She jumped out of the car and was eventually rescued by a passing pickup truck driver, court was told. A cab also stopped.

The pickup driver chased the husband and the cab driver raced the woman to hospital, where she underwent surgery to her throat and stitches to her thumb.

The judge denied bail to Paul Martin. He is next to appear in court on Jan. 21 “He thought she was dead,” said a Jamaican police officer who did not want to be named.

Neighbours in Ajax were shocked to hear of the crime. One gasped and covered her mouth when she heard the allegations.

“I’m in total shock, total shock,” said the woman, who did not give her name, but said her children often play with the Martins’ children. “They are the nicest people. This is unbelievable. Paul is the nicest person.”

Durham Catholic District School Board chairwoman Kathy LeFort said the board is working with St. Francis de Sales’ principal to inform the school council and staff of the charges.

The school will set up a crisis team for students and staff following the Christmas break, LeFort said.

One parent who is familiar with Martin said the allegations are sure to rock the school. “They love him,” the woman said of the teacher. “This news will hit very hard.“He’s an excellent teacher. . . . He has been a great asset to the school.”  Cathy Martin is preparing to return home Wednesday, according to reports.

When reached by phone Tuesday, two of her relatives refused comment.

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