Brit 'tried to stab woman to death in leisure centre car park because he thought she was a spy'
Published: 16/03/2023- 15:13
A man tried to stab a woman to death in a leisure centre car park because he thought she was a spy, a court has heard.
Joshua Bowles has been charged with attempted murder following the incident which happened around three miles from the UK intelligence agency’s base in Cheltenham on March 9.
The court heard that Bowles had carried out research on his victim and her whereabouts “believing her to work for GCHQ”, Britain’s signals intelligence and cyber security agency.
Bowles allegedly had two knives when he launched his attack at around 9.15pm as the woman left the leisure centre.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Joshua Bowles appearing at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court
He allegedly punched and stabbed her in the car park before continuing the attack inside the building as she tried to escape.
The victim required emergency surgery and remains in hospital.
Prosecutor Kathryn Selby said: “The defendant has selected the victim because he believed she is a worker for GCHQ and holds views on the work he believes they conduct.
“He attacked the victim because, in his mind, she represents the state.”
Bowles is also charged with actual bodily harm after allegedly punching a man who tried to intervene.
He was not asked to enter a plea during an appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
The 29-year-old stood in the dock, speaking to confirm his name, date of birth and address.
Prosecutor Selby said the case, which she said involved a “planned attack”, should be dealt with under the terrorism protocol.
Bowles has been charged with attempted murder following the incident which happened around three miles from the UK intelligence agency’s base in Cheltenham
Following the charges, Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said: “We would encourage people not to speculate on the specific circumstances surrounding this incident.
“We believe this was an isolated incident.
“And there is no information to suggest any wider threat to the local community.
“We must now let the judicial process take place.”