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Man handed indefinite hospital order for stabbing of stranger at petrol station

Armed police at the scene on Hengrove Way in Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)
Armed police at the scene on Hengrove Way in Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

A man who attempted to murder a stranger in a petrol station has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Paul Miller, 53, from Bristol, stabbed Liam Kittlety as he bought a coffee at the Morrisons Daily shop on Hengrove Way in Bristol, at about 7.30am on September 9 2021.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Kittlety managed to flee the attack, which a judge said would otherwise have “undoubtedly been a fatal incident”, when shop staff distracted Miller.

He was driven to a nearby layby by a friend, where he was attended to by paramedics before being taken to hospital with multiple stab wounds.

Miller remained in the petrol station shop, as customers fled and some staff barricaded themselves into an office.

Bristol incident
Police at the scene in Hengrove Way, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

Armed police arrived at the scene within five minutes of the alarm being raised. Miller did not engage with police negotiators.

Stun grenades and a baton round were used, with two firearms officers then approaching Miller and arresting him at 9.55am, in an act of “bravery”, to protect the public, a judge said.

Judge William Hart told Miller that Mr Kittlety could easily have died in the incident, describing him as “a total stranger to you, wholly innocent and unsuspecting”.

The judge described how other customers and staff were “terrified” by what happened.

He said Miller’s actions were “highly if not entirely governed” by the effect of his mental illness, which has been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia.

Judge Hart said it was necessary to impose an indefinite hospital order under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act to “protect the public from serious harm”.

Bristol incident
The judge described how other customers and staff were ‘terrified’ by what happened (Ben Birchall/PA)

The judge commended the two firearms officers who detained Miller, who he described as “seriously ill and very dangerous at the time”.

Prosecuting, James Ward told the court how Mr Kittlety was left in “serious pain” following the incident, with the effects of what could have happened “slowly dawning on him”.

Mr Ward said Miller, who admitted a charge of attempted murder, had been receiving treatment at Broadmoor secure psychiatric hospital.

Mitigating, Sam Jones said his client had been “seeking help” for his mental illness ahead of the incident but he did not receive the intervention he needed.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Mark Newbury of Avon and Somerset Police described what happened as an “awful ordeal” for the victim.

He thanked Mr Kittlety for supporting the investigation and praised the “professional and brave actions” of officers at the scene.