Attempted murder charge after man stabbed in broad daylight in town centre

Olympian Louis Smith
CRIME SCENE: Last Saturday off Upper Grosvenor Road. Photo: by Joanna Bailey

Last Saturday afternoon (February 12), police were called near to Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells just after 1pm following reports of an assault.

A man was found to have suffered stab wounds and was rushed to a London hospital.

The injured man, who has not been named, is now said to be in a ‘stable condition’ following the attack.

Shoppers were kept away from the area on Saturday afternoon as a cordon was put around the Meadow Road car park and towards Goods Station Road following the incident in Upper Grosvenor Road.

White-suited scenes of crime officers were seen searching the area for evidence, while the incident caused a large traffic backlog through the town.

On Sunday (February 13), Kent Police arrested Michael Rodriguez, 21, of Warren Gardens, Hadlow in connection with the attack, and later that day he was charged with attempted murder.

Mr Rodriguez was remanded in custody by Medway Magistrates’ Court on Monday (February 14) and he is set to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on March 14.

Kent Police say are still appealing for witnesses to come forward

A force spokesperson said: “A suspect has been arrested following report of a serious assault in Tunbridge Wells.

“The incident happened in Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, at 1.22pm on Saturday February 12.

“Officers and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended the scene and a man was taken to a London hospital with injuries consistent with stab wounds.

“He remains in hospital where his condition is described as stable.”

He continued: “Any witnesses and anyone with information that may assist the investigation is urged to call Kent Police.”

“Following the general easing of Covid restrictions we have
seen an uptick in public order incidents in the town centre”

The incident occurred just seven days after another violent assault in the town centre in which a man was hospitalised with facial injuries.

Kent Police say the victim of that incident was a man in his 20s who was walking in Mount Pleasant Road on Saturday, February 5 at around 8.50pm, when two men ran up and punched him to the floor.

The men continued to assault the victim on the ground, but several members The victim was taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries and bruising.

Two men, both aged 22, were later arrested by Kent Police on suspicion of assault.

They have been bailed to return to the police station on March 6.

Investigating officer, PC Lily Mackay, said: “We understand the suspects fled the scene after members of the public intervened and we are appealing for anybody who witnessed the incident but has not yet spoken to the police, to call our appeal line.”

Despite the two separate weekend attacks, residents have been reminded that Tunbridge Wells remains ‘a town with a very low crime rate’.

Cllr David Scott, the Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Economic Development in Royal Tunbridge Wells, put the recent incidents down to post Covid ‘uptick’ in crime, but reminded residents the town remains one of the safest in Kent.

He said: “Following the general easing of Covid restrictions we have seen an uptick in public order incidents in the town centre and elsewhere, including two serious incidents of assault within the past two weeks.

“The Community Safety Partnership, which includes partners such as Kent Police, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Safe Town Partnership, are working closely to ensure all available options are considered in securing convictions and preventing further similar occurrences.

“We remain a town with a very low crime rate and are determined to maintain this to minimise both the risk and fear of crime in Tunbridge Wells.”

Anybody with information about either incident can call kent Police on 01622 604100.

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