A BEDFORD financial advisor who plunged a knife into the neck and chest of his business partner was today (Tuesday, November 20) convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Barry Bell was found not guilty of attempting to murder motor trader Gary Brown as they sat in a car waiting to see a bank manager.
The two men set up their business at the beginning of the year but by May 17, when the attack took place in The Broadway car park in the middle of Bedford, Bell was said to have owed his partner around £40,000.
The jury heard Bell, 47, of no fixed address, was stringing his partner along that he would get his money back but in fact had no way of paying him because he was heavily in debt. In April, a £15,000 cheque Bell had given to Mr Brown had bounced.
In the days leading up to the bank meeting, Mr Bell had created a series of bogus emails and text messages purporting to be from someone calling himself Ian Ross, who Bell was saying was holding up a business deal.
The prosecution say Ian Ross was a “fictional character invented by Bell to enable him to extract money from Mr Brown.”
On May 17 they met at a repair garage in Fenlake Street, Bedford at around 8.25, intending to have a meeting with Mr Bell’s bank manager to sort out the debt.
Mr Bell got into Mr Brown’s Toyota Corolla leaving his Volvo at the garage and together they drove into Bedford town centre. They ended up in the Broadway car park in the centre of the town and Mr Brown parked by a ticket machine.
Prosecutor Timothy Godfrey said “Mr Bell said he needed to get something out of the back and he got out of the car and closed the door and ended up on the back seat rummaging around. Mr Brown was still sitting in the driver’s seat fiddling with his mobile phone.
“The next thing he knew was that Bell had leant forward and Brown felt a stabbing pain in the back of his neck on the left side.” He felt more than one blow and thought they were being delivered with some force and “felt deep.”
Bell then went to the driver’s door, opened it and jumped onto Mr Brown and forced him down. Brown ended up across the central console with his head on the front passenger seat. Bell then lay across him pushing the knife he was holding into Mr Brown’s chest.
Mr Brown put up a struggle and a passer by opened a door. Both Mr Brown and the defendant ended up outside the vehicle. Bell dropped the knife and Mr Brown picked it up to protect himself.
Mr Godfrey said the attack continued outside the car with Bell striking Mr Brown about the head with a carrier bag containing a heavy iron.
Moments later the defendant got back in the car and drove away from the car park ending up outside Greyfriars Police Station. He was arrested there a short while later by armed police.
Mr Brown suffered six stab wounds to his neck and chest. He suffered internal bleeding due to one chest wound and, because of the blood he lost, had to have a transfusion.
When interviewed by police after his arrest, the defendant claimed it was Mr Brown who had produced the knife that morning in the car and had attacked him. He claimed he had defended himself and Mr Godfrey told the jury the issue for them is to decide who had been the aggressor that morning.
After the verdict he was remanded in custody by Judge Richard Foster while pre sentence reports are prepared. No date was fixed. The judge asked the writer of the probation report to consider whether Bell can be categorised as a dangerous offender.