‘Pensioner downed beer, ate KFC and wandered around Aylesbury before stabbing shop worker in the neck’

The convenience store in Buckingham Street, Aylesbury
The convenience store in Buckingham Street, Aylesbury

A greying pensioner walked out of a mental health hospital and downed four pints of lager before plunging a kitchen knife into a shop worker’s neck, a court heard today.

David Clarke denied attempting to murder shop assistant Rushatharan Asok at Bab’s in Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, but accepts that he did stab him.

Reading Crown Court heard that when the defendant, who walks with the aid of a stick, asked the young shop worker to pass him some beers he drove a long blade into the back his neck.

On the day of the attack the court was told that the 63-year-old had been wandering around Aylesbury drinking.

Following the stabbing the young victim, 25, staggered about the corner shop before pulling the knife out of his neck himself and collapsing in a pool of blood in the street.

He was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery but later suffered a stroke to the right-hand side of his body, forcing doctors to put him into a medical 

Alan Blake, prosecuting, told the jury: “Of all the areas on the body he could have stabbed, he chose the neck, with all its critical and life essential structures.”

The slight 63-year-old, with grey hair and a large bushy beard, denies attempted murder and wounding with intent relating to the incident on the afternoon of September 8, 2014.

Mr Blake said Clarke had been an informal patient at a mental health facility at the time but was not sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was free to come and go as he pleased.

He had been receiving treatment at the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury for a personality disorder and paranoid thoughts. Clarke was in fact due for release the following week, something which had been causing him some stress, the jury heard.

CCTV footage showed the pensioner leaving the health centre on Bierton Road shortly after 11am before getting into a black taxi and driving into the town centre.

He was seen walking around the main shopping streets, walking into Ascho Store on the High Street at 11.15am and handing over cash to buy a chef’s knife for less than £5.

Clarke walked into an off-licence and bought several cans of lager, which he drank on a street corner, and then some KFC chicken.

Shocking footage shown to the court showed Clarke inside Bab’s, reaching into his jacket to pull out a kitchen knife and plunging it into the back of Mr Asok’s neck with great force.

Without speaking, he rushed out of the shop, getting a taxi back to the hospital where officers tracked him down around 45 minutes later.

He was arrested and taken to Aylesbury Police Station, where a team of psychiatrists deemed him fit to be interviewed.

The young Sri Lankan victim’s evidence was heard in a police interview played to the court.

Mr Asok said: “I put the beers inside the bag, when I was trying to put them in the carrier bag, he stabbed me.

“It was extremely painful after he stabbed me.”

He added: “Two ladies came and they didn’t have a phone and my phone was locked, so I unlocked my phone by putting my password in. They called for an ambulance. I felt dizzy and I fell to the ground.”

The shop worker said he hadn’t recognised Clarke but thought the customer was drunk, appearing “unsteady” on his feet and ‘smelling’ of alcohol.

Speaking about the impact of the attack, the young man said: “I can’t walk, my hand is not working and I can’t remember some of the things.

“It’s painful when I think about it.”

The trial, before Judge Johanna Cutts, continues.