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Tenterden teen Gilbert North locked up for knife attack on friend


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Gilbert North, who has been sent to a young offender’s institute for four years after slashing a close friend with a knife
Gilbert North, who has been sent to a young offender’s institute for four years after slashing a close friend with a knife

by Paul Hooper

A cocktail of drink and drugs turned mild-mannered Gilbert North
into a violent knife-wielding youth who then slashed a close
friend.

The 18-year-old was later diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome -
which together with drink had resulted in "a psychological perfect
storm", a court heard.

But a judge ruled the Tenterden teenager's attack was so
serious he had to be locked up for four years.

North, pictured left, had earlier been involved in a
bust-up when a close friend punched him to prevent
more trouble - and then put him in a car to cool down.

Raging North took that as "an act of betrayal" by his
19-year-old friend and, when he came to apologise, he
launched a ferocious attack with a knife.

After cutting him three times, North then walked into nearby
woods "wailing and slashing his own arms" and had to be restrained
by paramedics.

North, who admitted wounding with intent, had smoked a cannabis
joint after downing 10 Stella lagers at a party at a friend's house
in Bethersden.

Alex Rook, prosecuting, said when North, of Huson
Farm, Sandy Lane, Tenterden, was arrested he told police he
remembered being bundled into his car but could not remember
anything else.

The victim was in hospital for four days and has been left with
three knife injuries including a four-inch scar to his neck.

"he was a young man who is kind and mild-mannered who normally shied away from parties because he didn't like being in the public eye..." – paul jarvis, defending

Paul Jarvis, defending, said although the teenager could
not remember the incident, he is "genuinely horrified" by his
actions and "terrified" the consequences could have been
worse.

He said the attack in September last year was "completely out of
character" and as the result was examined by psychiatrists and
diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

"He was a young man who is kind and mild-mannered who normally
shied away from parties because he didn't like being in the public
eye but on this occasion threw himself in with gusto,
over-estimating his ability to cope. As a result he compensated by
drinking far more alcohol than he normally would."

Mr Jarvis said a combination of the alcohol and his mental
condition brought about a "remarkable change in character" from
mild-mannered young man into "someone who was violent and
temperamental".

The barrister added: "For him, this incident was a result of a
psychological perfect storm."

After being put into his car - and the keys taken away - the victim "to his credit" took the opportunity to apologise, but that became
the catalyst for the knife attack.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

Gilbert North was
sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court

North, who claimed he kept the weapon inside his car to use for
cutting bails of hay, had earlier become involved in a row with
another friend Tony Small in an outhouse used as a gym.

It was then the victim intervened and hit his friend to calm
him down before North was put in his car to cool down.

Judge Adele Williams sent North to a young offenders'
institution for four years after telling him: "You became incensed
and stabbed your friend in the neck, which has left him with
scars.

"The psychological effects on him have been great, leaving him
angry and confused. This was serious violence with the use of a
weapon and only an immediate custodial sentence is justified."

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