Local News


Paperwork error frees violent attacker months into 9-year sentence

Someone wrote '9 months' instead of '9 years'
Posted at 10:32 AM, Jul 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 13:32:58-04

LONDON (CNN) -- A manhunt is underway in London for a dangerous knifeman released from prison just a few months into his sentence due to a clerical court error.

Ralston Dodd, 25, was sentenced to nine years jail after he stabbed Jerrell Holland, 22, in the back three times in Islington, north London last September. However staff at the court misheard the judge and wrote down nine months instead of nine years.

Holland's lung was punctured and he nearly died in the attack that took place in broad daylight near on of London's trendiest shopping streets.

"Releases in error are extremely rare but we take any case very seriously. We are urgently investigating so we learn the lessons to prevent it happening again," the UK's Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

"Public protection is our priority. A warrant has been issued and police are pursuing the offender."

Holland's father Alex Holland, a rap musician, told CNN the family found out that Dodd was out of prison when his son saw him drive past, a couple of miles from where the stabbing happened. "My son has been under severe psychological stress since the stabbing and thought he was hallucinating."

"All I hope is that whilst he is at large there won't be another victim of his happy-go-lucky, stab-up attitude," said Holland senior, who knows Dodd's family as they all live in the same area.

Knife crime in London has been rising steeply over the past couple of years, with 61 people stabbed to death in 2016, according to police.