A woman who was allegedly stabbed by a man who thought she worked for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been given a code name in court.

Joshua Bowles, 29, appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (March 16), accused of trying to murder the leisure centre worker.

He has been charged with attempted murder and was remanded in custody.

The alleged attack took place roughly three miles from GCHQ's base in Cheltenham on Thursday (March 9).

Bowles, of Welwyn Mews, Cheltenham, was charged following an investigation by counter-terror detectives.

He is said to have researched the victim – who is referred to by code number "99230" in the charges – prior to the attack, targeting her as he believed she worked for GCHQ.

The woman was attacked while leaving the leisure centre with a friend at around 9.15pm.

Bowles allegedly had two knives. He is said to have punched and stabbed her in the car park before continuing the attack inside the building as she tried to escape.

She remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Another man. Alex Fuentes, is said to have confronted Bowles in the car park. Bowles allegedly punched him.

Bowles faces a separate charge of assaulting Mr Fuentes causing him actual bodily harm, as well as the attempted murder of 99230.

He stood in the dock on Thursday and spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and address. He was not asked to enter pleas.

Prosecutor Kathryn Selby said the alleged incident was a "planned attack" and called for it to be treated as a terrorism incident.

She said: “The defendant has selected the victim because he believed she is a worker for GCHQ and holds views on the work he believes they conduct.

“He attacked the victim because, in his mind, she represents the state.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said: “We would encourage people not to speculate on the specific circumstances surrounding this incident.

“We believe this was an isolated incident and there is no information to suggest any wider threat to the local community.

“We must now let the judicial process take place.”

Bowles will next appear at the Old Bailey on March 31.

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