Attacker apologises for stabbing

EXCLUSIVETHE daughter of a Suffolk businessman stabbed by a former US airman was left “gobsmacked” after her father's attacker phoned her to say sorry.


THE daughter of a Suffolk businessman stabbed by a former US airman was left “gobsmacked” after her father's attacker phoned her to say sorry.

Derek Thrower was left fighting for his life after RAF Mildenhall-based staff sergeant Lorenzo Sanchez attacked him at the Wherry Hotel in Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, in May 2005.

Earlier this year, a jury at Ipswich Crown Court found Sanchez not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity.

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Mr Thrower, 63, who moved to France from Suffolk four years ago, had said previously that he hoped Sanchez would one day contact him to explain why he had stabbed him.

His daughter, Karen Griggs, has now been contacted, first by Sanchez's very religious family, who live in La Luz, New Mexico, and then by the man who attacked her father.

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After being found not guilty by reason of insanity, Sanchez was discharged from the USAF. He has now told Mrs Griggs that he is looking to study psychology because of the attack.

She was also told that the entire Sanchez family - including Lorenzo - pray for her father every day.

Mrs Griggs said: “His mother was so upset and so sorry for what happened. She took my number and said she would pass it onto her son.

“The family are very religious, and his mother and also Sanchez - when I spoke to him later - said that they all pray for us every day.

“It took him two weeks to pluck up the courage to ring me, understandable I think given the circumstances.

“I have to say I was gobsmacked when I picked up the phone to find him on the other end. I asked him if he could give any explanation or indeed could he remember what happened. He still maintains he cannot, and that night is still a blur.

“He admitted he has been discharged from the USAF. He said he is now attending college in the hope of gaining qualifications to study psychology due to what he did.

“He asked after my father and the rest of the family. I was very civil to him, although I explained that time had made me that way, and if I had seen him at the hospital or indeed soon after, the situation would have been different.

“He said he understood completely and did not blame either myself or my father for our feelings.

“I must say it was very odd speaking to him and despite feeling the way I do it has made me more 'relaxed' about the whole situation.

“I told my father and I think perhaps Sanchez may feel the same way because he did actually apologise to me and my family for what happened.”

Mr Thrower said he had Sanchez's number but had not been in contact with him yet - though he did not rule out the possibility of speaking directly with his attacker in the future.

He added he felt his daughter was very brave to contact Sanchez and his family.

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