Victoria station knifeman to be freed in six weeks

Image caption,
McEwan had no memory of the attack in Victoria Station

A knife attacker with a history of violence and mental illness will be free within six weeks of being jailed for an unprovoked attack on a stranger.

John McEwan, 52, attacked Peter Gosbee at London's Victoria Station last February, but could not remember it.

McEwan pleaded guilty to wounding but was cleared of wounding with intent.

Judge David Higgins said the attacker has spent 15 months of his two years and nine months term in prison and could not be detained for any longer.

McEwan, who had a criminal record dating back to the age of 10 and several convictions for serious assaults and violence, has suffered paranoid schizophrenia for almost 20 years, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Judge Higgins said he was satisfied that the attacker was a potentially dangerous man but he could not be detained for a prolonged period as his sentence was less than four years.

The attacker was also deemed ineligible for a hospital order.

Sentencing McEwan the judge said: "You made an unprovoked attack on an entirely innocent male in Victoria station, wielding a 6in blade.

"There is no doubt that your behaviour was despicable, deplorable and deeply anti-social."

Glasgow-born McEwan, of no fixed address, attacked chef Mr Gosbee when he went inside the station to meet friends after smoking a cigarette outside.

'Staring at me'

The court heard McEwan had tried to ask people at the station for directions back to Glasgow when he saw Mr Gosbee and confronted him saying: "You can't smoke in here".

The chef deflected the knife, which was aimed towards his head, with his arm, suffering a gash below the elbow.

Following the attack McEwan headed to a nearby pub.

The court heard the attacker told police he had arrived at Euston from Glasgow that morning. He saw the knife in an alleyway "just staring at me" and picked it up.

He became "confused because of all the people around" at Victoria Station as he tried to get directions for returning to Glasgow.

The court heard that he had no recollection of the attack even after he was shown the CCTV footage.

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