Bristol teen given life sentence after a series of 'terrifying' random knife attacks

16 February 2022, 20:57

Chanz Maximen carried out two separate knife attacks.
Chanz Maximen carried out two separate knife attacks. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

By Emma Soteriou

A teenager has been given a life sentence after a series of "terrifying" knife attacks in 2019.

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Chanz Maximen, who was 17 at the time of the attacks, was jailed for a minimum term of 12 years.

In his first unprovoked attack, Maximen knifed a doctor nine times after dragging him out of his house.

He knocked on Adam Towler's front door in Clifton, Bristol, and shone a light through his letterbox on October 30 2019 before pulling him into the road and stabbing him repeatedly - including one blow that missed his heart by two centimetres.

The defendant told Dr Towler, "You killed the girl", a phrase that he has never explained and meant nothing to the victim or investigators.

Maximen left him for dead in the street and escaped the immediate area but did not go far.

Meanwhile, Dr Towler crawled back inside his house to call 999.

Maximen soon returned to the address and could be heard throwing his full body weight against the front door trying to force his way in.

He was not immediately arrested and carried out two more random attacks across the following weeks.

On November 20, he targeted warehouse worker Wojtek Rozmiarek as he made his way home on foot from a night shift.

Mr Rozmiarek had sat on a bench to download a podcast when Maximen approached him from behind and sliced him across the face - with Judge William Hart satisfied he had actually intended to slit his throat.

The next evening, he followed student Annabel Everitt as she returned home from a night out before knocking on her door and forcing his way in with a knife.

Maximen denied the attempted murder of Dr Towler, grievous bodily harm with intent of Mr Rozmiarek and two counts of possession of a knife but was convicted after a trial last December. He did, however, admit to a lesser charge of wounding Mr Rozmiarek.

The defendant was cleared of the aggravated burglary of Ms Everitt's address, but the judge said he was "quite satisfied" he was the individual who had forced his way in.

Edd Hetherington, who was representing Maximen, told the court that his client had suffered a developmental disorder that was a combination of both a learning difficulty and a communication disorder.

He added that Maximen had a very supportive home life and his mother had been a constant presence throughout the trial but was too distressed to attend the sentencing hearing.

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Jailing Maximen for life, Judge Hart said: "This course of conduct demonstrates that, despite your youth and lack of previous convictions, you are a highly dangerous young man, in both the colloquial and legal sense.

"Indeed, everything that I have read about you, together with my own assessment of the evidence at trial and your evidence in particular, has underlined and fortified that sad conclusion."

He continued: "There is no logical explanation for any of your offending other than that you are a highly dangerous young man with a wholly distorted view of life and appropriate conduct.

"It is not due to any recognised mental illness or diagnosed personality disorder and I can only conclude that it is simply because, for whatever reason, you are just like that, perhaps as a consequence of the impact of your earlier life experiences and the difficulties under which you labour."

Judge Hart added: "There is no way of knowing when, if ever, you will cease to be as dangerous an individual as you are now and as you were in October and November 2019.

"You continue to deny, albeit somewhat half-heartedly at times, your offending and there is no way in which your dangerousness can be satisfactorily addressed or remediated."

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In a victim statement, Dr Towler expressed his concern for the defendant and his future, and the fact he would spend so long in prison.

Describing a holiday he took in the aftermath of the attack, he said: "Amid all the great experiences I had on it I never stopped thinking about you.

"I don't know why but sometimes I would feel bad that I had this great freedom but you didn't - I wondered if you had just made a mistake, albeit a big one, or been unlucky.

"When I compared my position with what I imagined yours to be, it sort of didn't seem fair, although I know that's hard to understand."

Judge Hart said Dr Towler's comments were "extraordinary", adding: "Whether it is the effect of intellect, or faith, or kindness and understanding, I don't know.

"If it is the consequence of intellect, I admire it. If it is the consequence of faith, I envy it."

Detective Chief Inspector Kristina Windsor said: "The very thought of being randomly attacked by a stranger with a knife in your own home or while sat on a public bench is terrifying.

"I'd like to praise the immense bravery and courage all the victims and witnesses have shown."