Cheltenham: British man tried to murder American woman in 'terror act' outside leisure centre, court told
A 29-year-old man from Cheltenham has appeared in court accused of attempting to murder a woman he believed was working for GCHQ.
Joshua Bowles is said to have repeatedly stabbed an American woman in an attack that began in a leisure centre car park last Thursday evening.
Bowles was arrested at 9.30pm at the scene of the attack in Tommy Taylors Lane.
He was re-arrested the following day on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism and charged under section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981.
Kathryn Selby, prosecuting, told Westminster Magistrates' Court: "This was a serious incident of attempted murder. At this stage we ask for the matter to be dealt with under the [terrorism] protocol."
She said it was a "planned attack" and that the defendant had "travelled to the leisure centre on 9 March, taking two knives".
"He waited for her outside the leisure centre," Ms Selby told the court.
"When she left with a friend, he has gone up to her and punched and attacked her with a knife - first in the car park and, when she tries to escape into the leisure centre, he attacked her there," she said.
Bowles is also accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Alex Fuentes in the same incident, under section 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.
He is said to have been "punched repeatedly" by the defendant after confronting him in the car park "to see what was going on".
Staff at the leisure centre gave first aid to the victim in the aftermath of the attack.
She suffered a stab wound to her abdomen, which pierced her liver, along with another wound in the leg and one in her chest.
The woman required emergency surgery because of the attack and spent time in the intensive care unit being treated.
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She remains in hospital with serious injuries and is described as being in a "stable" condition.
Bowles appeared behind at Westminster Magistrates' Court and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address. There was no application for bail.
District Judge Nina Tempia remanded him in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on 31 March.