Introduction and Facts
Lauren Jeska was a successful athlete, a 41 year old fell runner, when she fell into dispute with British Athletics.
For reasons that aren’t clear, on 22nd March 2016 Ms Jeska drive from her home in Wales to Birmingham and asked to see Ralph Knibbs, an athletics official.
At this point she launched an entirely unprovoked, but clearly premeditated, attack, stabbing Mr Knibbs in the head and neck. These injuries were life threatening, and Mr Knibbs is still recovering from them.
Two people – Kevan Taylor and Tim Begley, tried to assist Mr Knibbs and were also stabbed. Fortunately, their injuries “were not of the most serious order“.
Guilty pleas to those attacks were also entered. It is said that it was ABH, but it may have been wounding. Given that they are much less serious than the attempted murder, it may be that it does not matter. There were also pleas to possession of two knives, which again may not add much in the scheme of things.
Ms Jeska is to be sentenced on 15th November
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there has already been a psychiatric report, but further reports have been ordered before sentencing.
Whatever the outcome of those, it is likely that Ms Jeska will face a lengthy prison sentence, although “a diagnosis of autism may be raised at the next hearing” and the Court “would be invited to consider whether a “medical disposal” would be available“.
There are guidelines for these offences. The sentence will be shaped by the Attempted Murder Guidelines. Looking at the table at page 7, it is probably not a Level 1 offence (one where there would be a whole life tariff or a 30 year starting point).
It was clearly planned, and the stating point would depend on the severity of the injury. On the face of it, there was long term physical and/or psychological harm, which would give a starting point of 20 years after a trial.
Although that may go up to reflect the other offences, there will be credit for a plea of guilty.
We will have a look at this again when Ms Jeska is sentenced and there is hopefully some more information as to what triggered this attack.