LONDON – 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 in 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.
Jerrell’s lung was punctured, and he nearly died in the attack that took place in broad daylight near one 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,” said the UK’s Ministry of Justice in a statement. “Public protection is our priority. A warrant has been issued, and police are pursuing the offender.”
Jerrell’s father, Alex Holland, a rap musician, told CNN the family found out 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 Alex, 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.