Dangerous knife man jailed for 15 years after “totally unprovoked” attacks on Norwich teenagers

Kurt Nelson. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Kurt Nelson. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

A dangerous knife man with a 'worrying preoccupation with weapons' has been jailed for 15 years after two 'totally unprovoked' knife attacks on teenagers in Norwich.

Jamie Atkinson was slashed in the face in an unprovoked attack on Magdalen Road. Picture: Jamie Atki

Jamie Atkinson was slashed in the face in an unprovoked attack on Magdalen Road. Picture: Jamie Atkinson - Credit: Archant

It comes as one of Kurt Nelson's victims said the assault has tainted his view of what is 'meant to be a safe city'.

Nelson, 21, admitted two woundings, a burglary and three counts of possessing a bladed article over the course of six weeks last autumn.

The day of his release from a previous sentence on September 8, Nelson broke into a home on Drayton Road.

He stole a 32-inch TV, two mobile phones, car keys, and 'defecated on the kitchen floor', Norwich Crown Court heard on Thursday.

The scene of the attack on Adam Wright by Ketts Cave. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

The scene of the attack on Adam Wright by Ketts Cave. Picture: Dominic Gilbert - Credit: Archant

Less than three weeks later on September 25, armed with a knife, Nelson approached 15-year-old Adam Wright in broad daylight close to Ketts Cave and stabbed him in the chest with 'no provocation whatsoever'.

A group of six or seven friends had met there when Nelson was seen arguing with one of Mr Wright's friends.

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'He understood from body language the argument might be about him - something to do with the suggestion he had stared at them in a way they did not like,' said prosecutor Andrew Thompson.

'A split second later he was right up against Adam. To him it felt like he had been punched in the chest.'

Fifteen-year-old Adam Wright said he started to lose his vision and went into shock after another te

Fifteen-year-old Adam Wright said he started to lose his vision and went into shock after another teenager attacked him on Monday evening. Photo: Adam Wright. - Credit: Archant

Adam did not realise at first he had been stabbed, although his lung had almost instantly collapsed.

Soon after the stabbing Nelson confessed to an old school friend, who gave evidence he had come to her flat and asked to look at her phone to see the coverage of the attack on the EDP website.

'He asked her if she heard about the lad who was stabbed and had a punctured lung,' said Mr Thompson. 'Mr Nelson said 'I done that'. She says he was laughing and bragging about the stabbing and saying he deserved it.'

Next month, on October 17, Jamie Atkinson was out with friends in the city around 10.30pm. The 18-year-old had been in Norwich just three weeks after moving to the city as a fresher at the University of East Anglia.

While leaving a friend's house they heard a shout of 'guy with a knife', when Mr Atkinson turned and saw a man carrying a large blade.

'Those with him started to scatter, but before he could run away the knife man reached him and had swung the knife at him,' said Mr Thompson.

Again, only later did his victim realise he had been slashed in the face with a machete, and was 'bleeding profusely'.

Nelson, who has 23 previous convictions, including violence and carrying knives, was arrested at 12.33am in the early hours of the next morning. Close by were two 'professional' kitchen knives, Mr Thompson added.

Jamie Atkinson stood in court to give a victim impact statement.

He said: 'The sudden and abrupt nature of the knife attack has left me anxious to go out in public places, even in the daytime, I am always looking over my shoulder.

'It has totally tainted my view of what is meant to be a safe city.

'It's clear the defendant went out that evening with every intention to inflict harm on whoever possible and, totally unprovoked, knifed me to fulfil his sick and deranged purpose.

'I believe I am very lucky to still have my vision - the damage which could have been done can only be left to the imagination. 'This case should be used as a firm example that unprovoked attacks that leave the victims literally scarred for life should carry the maximum tariff possible.

'Anyone who walks out their front door with a knife will always have a cruel intention - to inflict serious harm on whoever they see fit.'

Gavin Cowe, mitigating for Nelson, said he was a cannabis user who drank to excess and felt he had 'very little stake in society'.

He said he had been 'fearful' after a dispute with a former friend had resulted in them trying to run him down in their car.

'That, combined with his drug use, caused him to perceive hostility from others,' said Mr Cowe.

'The assault takes place against that perceived background of hostility which is completely mistaken. This a clearly troubled young man.'

Judge Anthony Bate, jailing him, told Nelson he posed a very high risk of harm to the public.

'I perceive you at the moment as a very dangerous young man, particularly when you perceive some slight against you,' he said.

Nelson was jailed for 11 years with a four year extension period for the stabbing of Adam Wright, with three years concurrent for the attack on Jamie Atkinson.

He was given 12 months concurrent for each of three counts of possession of knives, and 12 months concurrent for the burglary.

'I thought I was going to die'

Speaking from his hospital bed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after the attack, Adam Wright said he thought he might die.

He said: 'I thought he had winded me at first, but I then felt a sharp pain and could feel blood coming from my chest.

'It looked like he had used a kitchen knife, but I'm not completely sure, I was in shock.

'Everyone around me was panicking, which made me panic. I genuinely thought I was going to die.'

Detective Inspector Chris Burgess, from Norwich CID, welcomed the sentence on Thursday.

'The sentence handed down today reflects the seriousness of the offences Nelson has committed,' he said.

'He displayed a willingness to resort to violence using knives and I have no doubt that his actions have had a significant lasting impact on his victims.

'I hope today's sentence offers them a form of closure and demonstrates we will do all we can to bring those responsible of violent crimes like this to justice.'