A former worker at Britain’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ on Wednesday pleaded guilty to attempted murder after attacking a US government employee outside a leisure centre.
Joshua Bowles, 29, punched and stabbed his victim, who was referred to in court by a code number rather than by name.
She was employed by the US government and was based at GCHQ at the time of the incident, the court heard.
Bowles, who pleaded guilty at London’s Old Bailey court, had also worked for GCHQ but was no longer employed there at the time of the attack.
The attack took place on March 9 outside a leisure centre around five kilometres (three miles) from the intelligence agency’s base in the western English town of Cheltenham.
Bowles was armed with two knives when he attacked the victim as she was leaving the leisure centre with a friend.
He attempted to stab her in the centre’s car park before continuing the assault inside the building as she tried to escape.
The victim was taken to hospital with multiple stab injuries.
Bowles also punched a man who confronted him in the car park.
The case was investigated by counter-terrorism detectives.
Prosecutors have said it was a “planned attack” and Bowles selected his victim because he believed she worked for GCHQ and “holds views on the work he believes they conduct”.
“He attacked the victim because, in his mind, she represents the state,” prosecutor Kathryn Selby told an earlier hearing.
GCHQ handles signals intelligence, cybersecurity and code-breaking for the UK government.