Sutton St Edmund man jailed for part in “chilling” attack

JAILED: Osa Akpata and Charlie Knight
JAILED: Osa Akpata and Charlie Knight
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A “dangerous” Sutton St Edmund man with “anger issues” was today (Thursday) jailed for eight-and-a-half-years after his part in a daylight attack which left the victim in a critical condition.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was chased down a road in Harlow, Essex at around 3.30pm on January 26, 2017 by Charlie Knight and his friend Osa Akpata and attacked.

The entire assault was caught on CCTV which showed the pair grab the victim before Akpata stabbed him five times.

As the victim fell to the floor, the footage showed Knight, who was armed with a hammer, strike the victim another five times, while Akpata struck him a further three times.

Both men then ran off.

The victim was taken to hospital in a critical condition and has been left with a permanent eye injury. He also suffered a punctured lung, fractured rib and numerous other wounds.

Akpata (20), of Northgate End, Bishop’s Stortford, was arrested at his home address on February 10 and Knight (20), of Broadgate, Sutton St Edmond, was arrested in King’s Lynn on March 1.

Knight pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent at Chelmsford Crown Court on August 16 while Akpata was found guilty of attempted murder at the same court on September 6.

Today (Thursday) Akpata was handed 16 years in a young offenders’ institute with a recommendation he serve 13 years. Knight has been sentenced to eleven-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment, with the immediate custodial element eight-and-a-half-years.

He was also ordered to serve 12 months for possession of an offensive weapon, to run at the same.

Today at Chelmsford Crown Court, Judge David Turner QC said: “You both have considerable anger issues and a tendency to act impulsively.

“The attack was unexpected, unprovoked, vicious, cowardly, merciless and sustained. Blows were forceful and deliberate, 13 in all. The CCTV makes chilling viewing.

“Knight you took a hammer, Akpata you say it was a screwdriver. The victim was a stranger. It was two on one. He showed no signs of defending himself or being in any position to do so. He was outnumbered, unarmed and defenceless.”

The court heard that both defendants had undergone disrupted childhoods and had spent time in care. They met in a care home.

Akpata, with 24 previous convictions for violence and drugs, was diagnosed late with hyperactivity disorder.

He is a category A prisoner in the high security Belmarsh Prison in south London where he has behaved violently while on remand. He was sentenced via video link because of logistical problems.

Knight, also in Belmarsh, has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. He has 33 previous convictions and appeared in the dock flanked by three prison warders and a dock officer.

In his defence, Akapata claimed he had been with Knight earlier but said they had separated shortly before the attack and met up again after it.

He also claimed that Knight told him he and another man identified as “Abdul” had gone to buy cannabis and the victim was one of three men who tried to rob him, Knight, at knife point.

Akpata was identified and arrested at the YMCA, where he was living.

Knight was recognised by a police officer in King’s Lynn and arrested there a few weeks later.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Richard Canning, from Harlow CID, said: “This was a brutal and premeditated attack that left the victim with some really serious injuries.

“The ferocity with which Osa Akpata and Charlie Knight attacked the victim, and the fact it took place in broad daylight in a public place, is shocking and I am pleased we’ve been able to bring them to justice.

“They are two dangerous individuals who appear to have few qualms about using extreme violence.

“Essex is a safer place now they are off the streets.”