Fell-runner jailed for trying to kill official in samples row

Lauren Jeska was given 18 years for attempting to stab to death a UK Athletics official

A fell-runner has been jailed for 18 years for attempting to stab to death a UK Athletics official after a row over test samples.

Lauren Jeska from Powys took two kitchen knives she concealed in a bag to Ralph Knibbs' office at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium on 22 March last year.

He was left with life-threatening injuries after the "wholly unprovoked" and "cool, calculated attack", Judge Simon Drew QC said.

Two of his colleagues were also hurt after they tried to stop the "frenzied" assault about his head and neck.

One witness said the 42-year-old transgender athlete looked "as though she were trying to skewer meat".

Birmingham Crown Court heard she was in dispute with the British sporting governing body about eligibility to compete as a female athlete.

"She had not provided relevant samples to her testosterone levels and other relevant documentation," Prosecutor Richard Atkins QC said.

As a result, her racing results had been declared null and void, the court heard.

Mr Atkins said Jeska told a psychiatrist after the attack that she "fantasised" about going to the stadium and "killing all of the staff".

Describing the attack, the prosecutor said Jeska "lunged" at the official "using both knives".

The victim, he said, "was aware of blood pumping out of his neck and could see it on the wall behind him".

Mr Knibbs told the court himself the "traumatic, life-changing experience" had robbed him of his independence due to long-term nerve damage.

He also suffered a stroke during the attack which had resulted in partial, permanent sight-loss.

Defending Jeska, Julie Warburton told the judge her client "feels awful" about what she did to "one of the nicest people she has met at UK Athletics".

Jeska's parents, Pauline and Graham Jameson, said the attack was "out of character" for their daughter, adding she had received "conflicting rulings" on her eligibility to compete as a female athlete.

"After a long delay, she was verbally promised reinstatement, but this was not done," they said.

"All this stress and confusion triggered a mental health crisis."

Jeska had previously admitted attempting to murder Mr Knibbs, UK Athletics' head of human resources, two counts of assaulting his colleagues Tim Begley and Kevan Taylor, and carrying knives in public.

Sentencing her, the judge said the attack - which was captured on CCTV - had been "planned and executed with chilling precision".

Detective Sergeant Sally Olsen, of West Midlands Police, said Jeska would "now have plenty of time behind bars to contemplate the devastating consequences of her actions".