Man jailed after frenzied attack which left shop worker paralysed

David Clarke
David Clarke

A 64-year-old man who brutally stabbed an Aylesbury shop assistant in the neck as he tried to help him has been jailed for 15 years.

David Clarke, of no fixed abode, stabbed 25-year-old Rushatharan Asok during a frenzied attack at Babs Food and Wine store in Buckingham Street on September 8, 2014.

Victim Rushatharan Asok pictured in hospital in November 2014

Victim Rushatharan Asok pictured in hospital in November 2014

Sri Lankan Mr Asok, who had only been in the UK for a few weeks, was left paralysed down the left side of his body.

Senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Mark Glover, said: “Clarke stabbed Rushatharan, who he had never met before, in a short, violent and unprovoked attack in a shop in Aylesbury.

“I would like to thank local people in Aylesbury for their patience while we conducted the investigation and I would like to reassure people within the community that incidents of this nature are extremely rare. However when they do occur Thames Valley Police makes every effort to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring perpetrators to justice, as we have done in this case with Clarke.

“The events of 8 September 2014 resulted in Mr Asok sustaining injuries which will forever affect his life and the quality of life of his family due to the ongoing care he requires.

Rushatharan Asok pictured in hospital in November 2014

Rushatharan Asok pictured in hospital in November 2014

“The court recognised what a dangerous offender Clarke is. I hope today’s sentence will enable Rushatharan and his family to move on to the next chapter of their lives, although I am sure the lasting physical and emotional impact of this attack will never leave them.”

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This case involved the stabbing of a 25-year-old man in Aylesbury on 8 September 2014, causing severe, life threatening injuries and extreme loss of blood, which could have had far worse consequences.

“David Clarke purchased a kitchen knife from a nearby shop, and about three hours later, entered the convenience store and engaged the victim in conversation before brutally plunging the knife into the side of the victim’s neck and then leaving the store. The prompt actions of two young women, who entered the shop as Clarke was leaving, resulted in the victim receiving swift medical attention.

“Clarke answered ‘no comment’ in three police interviews and denied any wrongdoing, but was found guilty, by a jury, of wounding with intent on Monday, 11 May 2015, after a five-day trial despite his denials. He was found not guilty of attempted murder.

“We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

“This case represents a tragedy for the victim, and his family, who are devastated by his life changing injuries and the effect they are having on his quality of life. Understandably, the events on that day have had a significant impact on the victim both physically and psychologically.

“I hope that the conviction and today’s sentence will in some way help him to come to terms with the horrifying events with the knowledge that the man that subjected him to his terrible ordeal has been brought to justice. Our thoughts are very much with him and his family at this time.”

After walking out of the Whiteleaf Centre mental health facility in Bierton Road, Clarke purchased the knife from Ashco in Aylesbury High Street. At 2.20pm on the same day he went into Babs and asked for assistance. While Mr Asok was leaning forwards to help Clarke, he stabbed him the neck before leaving the shop.

Clarke was arrested on the same day and charged with the offence on September 10, 2014.

He was sentenced today (Monday) at Reading Crown Court to 15 years’ imprisonment with a five year extension period after being convicted of Section 18 GBH wounding with intent.

He was found guilty of the offence by jury following a five-day trial at Reading Crown Court on 11 May. He was acquitted of one count of attempted murder.