Knifeman could face life in jail
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.