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Joshua Bowles, 29, pleads guilty to attempted murder of woman he believed was GCHQ spy

A man has pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a woman he believed worked as a GCHQ spy.

Joshua Bowles, 29, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on Wednesday to punching and stabbing the woman at a leisure centre three miles from the UK intelligence agency’s Cheltenham base.

The victim of the attack, which took place in March, was taken to hospital after suffering multiple stab injuries.

The court heard Bowles was armed with two knives when he attacked the woman at about 9.15pm as she left the leisure centre in Tommy Taylors Lane with a friend.

Bowles was charged after an investigation by counter-terror police and prosecutors said he targeted the woman, who is referred to in the charges only by the code number 99230, as he believed she worked at GCHQ and represented the state.

The court heard the woman was employed by the United States Government and was stationed at GCHQ at the time of the incident.

Bowles also punched a man named Alex Fuentes after being confronted in the car park.

During a hearing in March prosecutor Kathryn Selby said the case involved a “Prosecutor Kathryn Selby said the case involved a “planned attack”

“The defendant has selected the victim because he believed she is a worker for GCHQ and holds views on the work he believes they conduct,” she said at the time.

“He attacked the victim because, in his mind, she represents the state.”

Following the hearing on Wednesday, Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “This extremely violent attack against two innocent people was completely unprovoked.

“It is right that those who commit violent crimes like this should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law to protect the public, and our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families.”

The judge told Bowles she hoped he would receive his sentence before the end of October.

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