Recruit jailed for six years for stabbing alleged bully at the ITC in Catterick Garrison

The ITC at Catterick Garrison.

A trainee soldier has been jailed for six years for attempted murder after he trying to stab another trainee who he claimed was the ringleader of a group of bullies.

Private James Farrell, 18, tried to knife Rifleman Curtis Horbury after an alleged bullying incident at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick Garrison in November last year.

The soldier plunged the knife into Rifleman Horbury’s bed.

The victim only avoided being stabbed in the head by rolling out of the way, the court martial in Colchester, Essex, was told.

The alleged bullying is now subject to a separate investigation by the Royal Military Police.

The alleged bullying included being verbally abused, physically struck “a few times” and having including half-empty Coke cans thrown into his bed space, the court heard.

The private claimed he had no intention of hitting his comrade with the knife but wanted to scare him into leaving him alone.

Farrell, who is from Halifax and was with the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion, said he “lost it” before the incident.

Farrell also admitted possessing 42 rounds of live ammunition and 30 rounds of blank ammunition – he received a four-month jail sentence for these charges to be served concurrently.

Vice-Judge Advocate General Michael Hunter, who sentenced Farrell, said: “You reacted in the way you did because you were being verbally bullied and because you couldn’t take it.”

Describing it as an unusual case in which nobody was injured, he said: “Following that blow, instead of retrieving the knife and continuing your actions you took no further action.

“You did nothing. This, we find, is because although you had clearly intended to kill, you at that point realised the enormity of what you had just intended to do.”

He added that it was only by chance that Rifleman Horbury was not killed.

Farrell, who will also be dismissed from the Army, will serve half his sentence in prison and the rest on licence.

Brian Russell, mitigating, said the incident was spontaneous and Farrell was aged 17 at the time.