Ex-UK intelligence worker pleads guilty to attempted murder after stabbing US spy at Cheltenham leisure centre

30 August 2023, 10:52 | Updated: 30 August 2023, 13:45

Bowles has admitted attempted murder after he stabbed a woman he believed was at GCHQ
Bowles has admitted attempted murder after he stabbed a woman he believed was at GCHQ. Picture: Alamy/Google Maps

By Will Taylor

A former UK intelligence worker has pleaded guilty to attempted murder after stabbing a US spy with two knives at a leisure centre.

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Joshua Bowles punched and stabbed the woman, who worked for the US National Security Agency while based at GCHQ.

The two had both worked at the signals intelligence agency.

The incident happened outside a leisure centre just three miles from the service's base in Cheltenham on March 9.

Bowles, of Cheltenham, said the victim's job at GCHQ was the motive for his attack.

The victim, who was only referred to as the code number 99230 in the charges against Bowles, was leaving the centre in Tommy Taylors Lane at about 9.15pm when she was attacked.

He was armed with two knives and she was taken to hospital with multiple stab wounds.

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Bowles has admitted attempted murder
Bowles has admitted attempted murder. Picture: Alamy
GCHQ is based in Cheltenham
GCHQ is based in Cheltenham. Picture: Alamy

Bowles also punched a man, Alex Fuentes, who confronted him in the centre's car park.

Nick Price, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "This extremely violent attack against two innocent people was completely unprovoked.

"It is right that those who commit violent crimes like this should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law to protect the public, and our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families."

Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), said: "This was a violent and unprovoked attack on two innocent victims.

"Through our extensive and thorough investigation, it is clear that Bowles had selected his victim because of where she worked."

The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, hoped Bowles will be sentenced by the end of October.