Knife­man could face life in jail

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

A CITY home­less man could face life be­hind bars af­ter ad­mit­ting stab­bing his friend eight times in the chest and arms af­ter a mi­nor row.

Robert Keene (49), whose ad­dress was given in court as St Theresa’s home­less shel­ter in Manor House Street, Peter­bor­ough, pleaded guilty to wound­ing with in­tent at Peter­bor­ough Crown Court yes­ter­day.

The charge re­lated to an at­tack on Robert Wil­shire on Jan­uary 22 this year. Mr Wil­shire suf­fered eight stab wounds to his chest and arms in the at­tack, which hap­pened at his home in St Mary’s Court, Peter­bor­ough city cen­tre.

The court heard how Mr Wil­shire was still suf­fer­ing the mental ef­fects of his or­deal nearly six months af­ter the at­tack.

Speak­ing af­ter the hear­ing, De­tec­tive Sergeant Robert Nor­man, who was part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for Cam­bridgeshire po­lice, said Mr Wil­shire had not pro­voked his at­tacker.

He said: “There was no his­tory be­tween them and, at the time, they were al­legedly friends. There was noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant that had hap­pened be­tween them lead­ing up to the in­ci­dent and it seems like it was quite ran­dom. There may have been a small ar­gu­ment but noth­ing that could lead up to what hap­pened. While the wounds were never life threat­en­ing, they were very se­ri­ous.”

Keene was due to stand trial for at­tempted murder yes­ter­day af­ter plead­ing not guilty to the charge in April.

How­ever, af­ter po­lice and bar­ris­ters were given time to ne­go­ti­ate their po­si­tion be­fore a jury were sworn in, a not guilty plea was ac­cepted for the orig­i­nal charge. A guilty plea to wound­ing with in­tent – mean­ing Keene meant to cause se­ri­ous harm but not kill his vic­tim – was ac­cepted by the court.

De­spite the plea mean­ing that Mr Wil­shire did not have to take to the wit­ness stand and give ev­i­dence, Judge Neil McKit­trick said that he was keep­ing all sen­tenc­ing op­tions open – in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial life sen­tence – ahead of a hear­ing next month.

He or­dered a re­port to be car­ried out by the Na­tional Pro­ba­tion Ser­vice look­ing at Keene’s of­fend­ing past, which has in­cluded a num­ber of attacks with weapons and knives.

He said: “In­evitably this will re­sult in a cus­to­dial sen­tence and the court keeps open all op­tions, in­clud­ing life im­pris­on­ment.

“How­ever, a re­port is needed to look at the is­sue of dan­ger­ous­ness and to look at the pos­si­bil­ity of im­pris­on­ment for pub­lic pro­tec­tion.”

Keene will be sen­tenced on July 30 at Peter­bor­ough Crown Court. He was re­manded into cus­tody.

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