Catterick Garrison

A trainee soldier accused of trying to stab a comrade in the head has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Private James Farrell, 18, told a court martial he plunged a knife into the bed of the "ringleader" of a group of fellow trainees who were bullying him at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

Prosecutors said the blow was aimed at Rifleman Curtis Horbury's head and he had to roll out of the way, but Farrell said he had no intention of hitting him with the knife and just wanted to scare him to make him leave him alone.

Farrell said that afterwards he stepped back and told Rifleman Horbury:

"Let that be a warning to you."

Farrell denied attempted murder but was convicted following a three-day trial at Colchester Garrison in Essex.

A board of five military officers returned its verdict on Wednesday after around three hours of deliberation.

Farrell, who was with the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion, told the trial he started his training at Catterick in September and was bullied "nearly the whole time" by others in his dormitory.

He said he was verbally abused, physically struck "a few times" and that his roommates threw rubbish, including half-empty drinks cans, into his bed space.

On the day of the incident, other trainees were "ripping into him" for wearing the wrong uniform on Remembrance Sunday, and asking questions about his home background after he said he did not get the grades to become an Army medic, the court heard.

Farrell said he left the dormitory on the evening of November 13 to go to a smoking shelter and calm down.

He said he intended to return to the room and punch Rifleman Horbury, but when he got back he "lost it", took out his knife and stabbed the bed.

Rifleman Horbury, who said he was lying in the bed texting at the time, said he thought the knife would have hit his head if he had not rolled out of the way.

Farrell, who appeared in uniform for the trial, showed no reaction as the unanimous verdict was read out.

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