In an appalling act of violence, a man allegedly attempted to murder a female GCHQ employee, reportedly targeting her due to her affiliation with the government agency.
The shocking incident transpired at Leisure at Cheltenham’s car park on Tommy Taylor’s Lane around 9:15 pm on 9th March.
Joshua Bowles, a 29-year-old man with a beard and clad in a grey tracksuit, appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, facing charges of attempted murder and assault on Alex Fuentes, who intervened during the assault.
Prosecutor Kathryn Selby described the event as a premeditated attack, stating that Bowles had researched the victim and her association with GCHQ.
Bowles is accused of bringing two knives to the leisure centre, and waiting for the victim to exit before launching his attack. Selby suggested that the victim’s employment at GCHQ was the primary motivation for the assault, as Bowles held certain beliefs about the agency’s operations.
During the altercation, Bowles allegedly assaulted Fuentes with multiple punches as he attempted to thwart the attack.
Residing in Welwyn Mews, Cheltenham, Bowles now faces charges of attempted murder and causing actual bodily harm. He will remain in custody until a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on 31st March.
Nick Price, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, confirmed the authorisation of Bowles’ attempted murder charge, which pertains to the Cheltenham stabbing.
In the aftermath of the incident, Assistant Chief Constable Richard Ocone of Gloucestershire Constabulary sought to reassure the public, emphasising the belief that it was an isolated occurrence without any broader threat to the community.
The constabulary is working in tandem with Counter Terrorism Policing and encourages those with further information to contact them at 101.
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