Man who carried out stabbing at Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival given hospital order

A man who carried out an unprovoked stabbing at The Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival has been given an indefinite hospital order.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 12:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:36 am

Jamie Thomas, 23, confronted Campbell MacKay, 37, as he walked away from the festival, in Whittlesey, with a friend at about 3pm on 13 January.

Thomas, who knew Mr MacKay’s friend but not him, began trying to goad both men into having a fight.

They refused and Mr MacKay, a father-of-one, tried to calm the situation but Thomas responding by producing a knife and plunging it into his stomach.

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Jamie Thomas

Thomas fled the scene in Market Street and police officers who were nearby, and on patrol for the festival, came to the Mr MacKay’s aid.

Other police officers saw Thomas running away and followed as he turned into Queen Street and then into a restaurant. He was found in the kitchen, having just washed the knife.

Thomas, from March, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on 2 November after being declared fit to do so by a judge at Peterborough Crown Court.

Today (21 December) at the same court, Thomas was told he would serve an indefinite hospital order until such time as he could show experts and a tribunal that he was fit for release and not a threat to the public.

The knife used

Judge Matthew Lowe described him as being “someone who is capable of causing someone serious harm”.

Speaking today, Mr MacKay, who is a bricklayer, said: “It was scary. Blood was coming out of me and I felt queasy. The air ambulance was called and although it wasn’t needed I knew it must be serious. You see it on TV but you don’t expect it at a local festival. It was horrible and there were little children around who could see what had happened.

I was just worried and scared. I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen, I was in hospital with blood coming out of me.”

Mr MacKay said he was still having operations as a consequence of the injury and had been off work for eight months since the attack - only working for six-and-a-half weeks in total.

The scene of the stabbing

“It was a shock because it’s a family festival”, he added. “I was just breaking up a confrontation and this happened. It feels now like there’s a big part of me that’s never going to come back because I’m on edge all the time.”

DC Mark Bates, who investigated, said: “This was a completely unprovoked and vicious assault on a man who was simply trying to enjoy a day out at a popular local festival.

“The victim recovered from serious injuries but they will have lasting effects and the attack itself could have had far more serious consequences. The sentence today reflects this and people will be safer with Thomas in a secure hospital setting.”