Ex-GCHQ man jailed for life after stabbing US security workeron October 30, 2023 at 11:39 am

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Joshua Bowles, from Cheltenham, is handed a life sentence for an attack on a US government employee.

A court sketch of Joshua Bowles sitting in courtImage source, Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

A former UK intelligence worker has been jailed for life for stabbing a US government employee.

Joshua Bowles, from Cheltenham, attacked the woman in a leisure centre car park, three miles from GCHQ’s base, in March.

He pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assaulting a second person, causing actual bodily harm.

The 29-year-old was handed a life sentence at the Old Bailey, with a minimum term of 13 years.

Armed with two knives, Bowles punched and stabbed the woman repeatedly on 9 March, leaving her with cuts to her abdomen, chest and thigh.

The ex-computer software coding developer later said he had targeted her because he could not handle the “murky waters of ethics” and “the power that the American NSA have and the things they do”.

The court heard Bowles had planned the attack and searched online for topics including US Unabomber terrorist Theodore Kaczynski, attacks on women, and white supremacy.

During sentencing, senior judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb found the stabbing was a “politically motivated attack” driven by “anger and resentment” towards GCHQ and women.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said using her attacker’s name made her “feel sick” and brought back “awful memories”.

She said she was “devastated” to find out they had worked in the same place, adding: “This attack has had a profound effect on me and it’s utterly and completely changed my life.

“Following the attack, I went from being in the best shape I had ever been to being the weakest I have ever been.”

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