Doctor says he would meet teenager who tried to kill him in random knife attack

Dr Adam Towler said he ‘owed it’ to 19-year-old Chanz Maximen to listen if he ever tried to make contact with him.

20 February 2022

A doctor who was stabbed nine times by a 17-year-old boy has said he would like to meet his attacker if given the chance.

Chanz Maximen, now 19, knocked on Adam Towler’s door in Clifton, Bristol, on the evening of October 30 2019, having apparently selected the address at random.

He pulled Dr Towler into the road and knifed him repeatedly, inflicting a deep wound to the chest that punctured his lung and narrowly missed his heart.

Maximen initially left the doctor bleeding in the street, but returned to the property once his victim had managed to get back inside and tried to break the door down.

Dr Towler, 54, was the first of three people Maximen would randomly target in the Clifton area at night, before he was tracked down by police three weeks later.

Neither the trial nor multiple psychiatric assessments has shed any light on his motive.

The only common thread between Dr Towler, a warehouse worker who had stopped at a bench on his way home from a night shift, and a female student, was that they were alone when Maximen came across them.

Chanz Maximen court case
Chanz Maximen was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

Maximen, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, had been a normal teenager studying for his A-levels and had no history of violence.

Although he had been diagnosed with a learning difficulty, Maximen was in mainstream school and did not need the help of the intermediary provided to him while giving his evidence.

He was not found to be suffering from a psychiatric illness and was deemed fit to stand trial.

He is now a category A prisoner at HMP Belmarsh in London, and has to be accompanied by three guards when he moves through the prison.

Despite the ferocity of the attack and the severity of his injuries, Dr Towler has been concerned for Maximen since the incident.

In a victim impact statement read in court, Dr Towler said: “I am not upset or angry with you. I don’t think you owe me an apology or anything, but I do want you to know what it’s like for me.

“Perhaps one day I will also learn what it is like for you too, since the events.

“What happened on that night happened, you and me were connected in it and neither of us can change the events of that night now.”

Speaking to the PA news agency after Maximen’s sentencing, Dr Towler said he believed it would help to be able to talk to him one day.

He said: “I owe it to him and he owes it to me – if he wants to meet, I owe it to him to listen, because the consequences of his actions on me and the other victims have been enormous.

“I would like to learn what he’s thinking – what he was thinking and what he does think, whatever that is, because it helps me.”

He continued: “He’s never admitted his guilt but I felt there was a shift in his position in court on Wednesday, because he listened very attentively to my statement, he had good eye contact, that was more engagement than he has shown previously.”

Dr Towler said he still asks himself “why didn’t he actually kill me?”

“The first wound was the significant one to the chest, he could easily have overpowered me, if he had set his mind to it,” he said.

“I didn’t fight back, I just tried to keep things calm and calm it down – he just didn’t quite manage to go through with it, as it were.”

Maximen targeted three people in Clifton, Bristol (Anthony Devlin/PA)

In court, Dr Towler expressed his anxiety about Maximen’s new life in prison, the fact his family have to live with what he has done and live without him, and the fact he has lost his freedom.

In his statement, he said: “I say again that I am not angry with you, but I want to say to you that I am a real human being, just as you are, and I respect our lives equally.”

Referring to Maximen’s other victims, Dr Towler said: “We are all real human people who live, love and hate, but killing should not be a human thing and that nearly happened.”

Judge William Hart described Dr Towler’s statement as “extraordinary”, telling the court: “Whether it is the effect of intellect, or faith, or kindness and understanding, I don’t know.

“If it is the consequence of intellect, I admire it. If it is the consequence of faith, I envy it.”

Asked he had come to terms with what happened, Dr Towler said: “I don’t know if one does come to terms with it, it kind of ‘is’ in an existential way.

“It happened – as I said in court, I wish I could ‘unhappen’ those events, I wish I could unhappen them for me and I wish I could unhappen them for him.

“I got lucky and outwardly at least I am in more of a fortunate position than he is, considering future life prospects – I wouldn’t want to be in Belmarsh, I wouldn’t want to be living with the responsibility of what he’s done.”

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