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Pensioner stabbed 30 years ago tells teens: ‘You’ve only got one life’

Father-of-two speaks out for first time after more stabbings in Camden

22 August, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Sunil Kumar Pal

A PENSIONER who was stabbed in a suspected attempted street robbery 30 years ago has spoken out for the first time in a warning to youngsters about the long-term impact of knife attacks.

Sunil Kumar Pal, now 83, said not only the physical scars but mental wounds have stayed with him after he was set upon by a “gang of criminals” in Kilburn in 1989 on his way home from work.

Doctors said if the knife plunged into his chest had gone two millimetres further, it could have caused a fatal injury.

Mr Pal managed to bat away a second attempt to stab him with his briefcase.

The father-of-two said: “Life is precious. One has only one life.

“What is the point to waste it over issues like anger, money, mobiles phones, etc? There are alternative ways to settle these rather than using a knife.

“Think about the family.”

Mr Pal, a retired engineer, still has the diary entry from February 17, 1989 when he was attacked.

It reads: “8.15pm attacked by a gang of criminals. Admitted to hospital Royal Free King Edward ward.”

The diary entry from 1989

The then 55-year-old had been walking through Springfield Walk to his Abbey Road home when three or four young men knocked his glasses off.

He ran away but they stabbed him, broke his nose and tried to stab him again in what he believes was an attack motivated by money. They did not manage to take anything from him.

“I swung my briefcase and it hit the knife and then they ran away,” he said.

“I then realised the damage they did, I saw the blood, I put my hand there.”

Two girls, who Mr Pal has never been able to trace, helped him by calling emergency services and his wife.

His chest still bears a scar where the knife entered, and he has had two operations on his nose.

He said: “After examination, they told me if the knife penetrated another 2mm in there, my lungs would have been damaged and I could’ve gone.”

Mr Pal spent five days in hospital before taking three months off work to recover.

But the effect of the incident endures to this day.

“If I’m walking and see something unusual, I look back now. I have to rush,” he said.

No one was charged with the incident. “They didn’t have to earn money that way,” he said.

Mr Pal said he was prompted to write in to the New Journal this week after seeing yet another fatal stabbing on the streets of London, when Alex Smith, 16, became the latest victim.

He said seeing the news brings back what happened to him.

“I feel sorry for them,” he said. “It’s 30 years ago what happened, and it’s also happening again and it should go away.

“They should be away [from knife crime].”

On what can be done to prevent stabbings, Mr Pal said more resources have to be made available to “break the pattern” of the motives around knife crime.

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