Family solicitor, 66, stabbed fellow company director with a kitchen knife after suffering delusions brought on during Covid pandemic
- Kevin Lane, 66, of Baglan, Neath Port Talbot, stabbed colleague Rory McCreesh
- Mr Lane has been detained in a secure mental health unit after sentencing
A ‘kind and generous’ family solicitor stabbed his colleague in the chest after believing he was ‘out to get’ him, a court heard yesterday.
Kevin Lane, 66, who ran a law firm in Port Talbot, South Wales, attacked his company’s director, fellow solicitor Rory McCreesh, with a six-inch kitchen knife on June 23 last year.
He is said to have been suffering from a mental disorder and believed Mr McCreesh was acting against him and that he needed to do something to stop it.
Swansea Crown Court heard Mr Lane had been suffering from depression, paranoia and delusions brought on during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kevin Lane, 66, who ran a law firm in Port Talbot, South Wales, attacked his company’s director, fellow solicitor Rory McCreesh, with a six-inch kitchen knife on June 23 last year
Mr McCreesh was in ‘complete and utter shock’ as it dawned on him he had been stabbed
Carina Hughes, prosecuting, said during the sentencing hearing that Mr McCreesh and the defendant’s nephew Rhys Lane, who also worked at Kevin Lane & Co, noticed the defendant’s mental health deteriorating over a number of months.
Miss Hughes said: ‘They felt that he could no longer cope and in August to September of 2021 an agreement was reached that Mr McCreesh and Rhys Lane would buy the firm, and the defendant would remain at the firm in a consultancy capacity.’
Mr McCreesh and Rhys Lane had organised a visit to the defendant’s home on the day of the stabbing in Baglan, Neath Port Talbot, to discuss a legal file with him.
The victim said Mr Lane seemed ‘colder than usual’ when they arrived, refusing to shake his hand or hug him in their usual greeting.
Once inside the house, Mr Lane extended his hand to the victim as if in offer of a handshake and then ‘unexpectedly and suddenly jumped towards Mr McCreesh, who felt a sharp penetration below his right peck.’
Mr McCreesh was in ‘complete and utter shock’ as it dawned on him he had been stabbed.
Miss Hughes said: ‘The defendant was driving him back towards the door and Mr McCreesh gripped the defendant’s arms while he screamed, ‘Rhys, he’s f****** stabbed me’.’
Mr Lane’s nephew Rhys Lane also began struggling with him, pleading for him to put the black-handled knife down, saying: ‘Come on, we all have children.’
Once they managed to grapple the knife from Mr Lane’s hands, Rhys Lane drove Mr McCreesh to the emergency department of Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where it was discovered he had sustained a four centimetre wound and bleeding around his lung.
Father-of-one Mr Lane (centre), was detained in a secure mental health unit after his sentencing hearing on Monday
Police officers arrested Mr Lane at his house under suspicion of attempted murder, however the Crown Prosecution Service later accepted a guilty plea to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) due to his mental state at the time.
Mr McCreesh said in a victim impact statement that ‘there wasn’t any animosity between’ him and Mr Lane before the stabbing, and that he continues to suffer from nightmares and flashbacks.
He said: ‘Kevin was a very good friend and over the years he and his family have been so kind towards me, and the business to me felt like a big family.
‘I still have a good relationship with Kevin’s family and I feel sympathy with them as I know they’re also devastated and at a loss as to why Kevin did what he did.
‘I’ve also had to take some criticism from people who believe I was to blame for what happened, or I must have deserved it, as Kevin is such a lovely and good guy.
‘This has really affected me as nobody considered that I may have done nothing.’
Rory McCreesh was rushed to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where it was discovered he had sustained a four centimetre wound and bleeding around his lung
Ordering that Mr Lane be detained in a secure mental health unit, Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford said: ‘The facts of this offence are in any view very sad – both for your victim, Mr Rory McCreesh, and for you.
‘The impact on Mr McCreesh has been understandably significant. He was attacked for no reason by someone who was a colleague and a friend.
‘He has had to endure the stress of everything that has followed including the involvement of the police, the courts and the solicitors regulator, and the media attention that this attack attracted.
‘Furthermore, he says that he was subjected to criticism and speculation that since this was so out of character for you, he must have done something to provoke you.
‘I therefore take this opportunity to emphasise that that is wrong, and that he was a wholly innocent victim.’
Mrs Justice Jefford said numerous character references described Lane as a ‘valued member of his community’ who was ‘generous to others with his time and his wisdom’.
She said: ‘As one said, the epitome of a gentleman, as another said, courteous, kind, and respectful for and to all.’
‘In other words, this attack on Mr McCreesh was wholly out of character for you.
‘I have no doubt that it was the product of the mental illness that has since been diagnosed, which has included paranoid and delusional beliefs.
‘I express the hope that you will be able, in due course, to return to your community and your family and rebuild your life.’
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