York & North Yorkshire

'Bullied' soldier jailed for Catterick Garrison attack

Pte James Farrell Image copyright East News Press Agency
Image caption The incident happened at Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire, in November

A trainee soldier who tried to stab a fellow serviceman in the head amid claims he was bullying him, has been jailed for six years.

Pte James Farrell, 18, said he was only trying to warn Rifleman Curtis Horbury during the incident at Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire.

But a court martial last month in Colchester heard the blow was aimed at his colleague's head.

Farrell, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, was convicted of attempted murder.

'Couldn't take it'

The court heard claims that Mr Horbury was the "ringleader" of a gang of trainees who were bullying Farrell, which had culminated in the attack on 13 November.

Farrell said he had no intention of hitting him with the knife and just wanted to scare him to make him leave him alone.

He said on the night in question he was verbally bullied and went out to a smoking area to calm down, but "lost it" when he came back and saw Mr Horbury "smirking" at him.

The court heard "it was only by chance" Mr Horbury was not killed. He managed to dodge the blow by rolling out of the way.

Sentencing Farrell at Colchester Garrison, Vice-Judge Advocate General Michael Hunter told him: "You reacted in the way you did because you were being verbally bullied and because you couldn't take it."

'You did nothing'

Describing it as an "unusual" case in which nobody was injured, he said: "Following that blow, instead of retrieving the knife and continuing your actions you took no further action.

"You did nothing. This, we find, is because although you had clearly intended to kill, you at that point realised the enormity of what you had just intended to do."

The bullying allegations are now the subject of an ongoing independent investigation by the Royal Military Police.

Farrell, who was with the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion, also admitted possessing 42 rounds of live ammunition and 30 rounds of blank ammunition.

He was sentenced to six years and four months for all offences.

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