George Harrison knife attack

On the night of December 30th, 1999, George and Olivia Harrison were attacked at their home in Friar Park, Oxfordshire. A 33 year-old mentally ill man by the name of Michael Abram broke into their residence armed with a knife.

Abrams gained entry to the house by smashing a window, which woke the couple. Harrison put on a jacket and boots and rushed to see what caused the noise. He saw Abram in the kitchen area brandishing a knife and immediately ran to warn his wife.

"I retreated hurriedly to the bedroom, shouting at my wife, 'Someone is in the house.' My wife was saying, 'Stay in the room,' but I decided to look again... I noticed the intruder again. As I looked down to the room below me, I saw a person run from the kitchen. He stopped in the centre of the room and looked towards me. He started shouting and screaming. He was hysterical and frightening. He said words to the effect of, 'You get down here, you know what it is.' I could see a knife in one hand and the spear from part of the statue in the other." - George Harrison

George attempted to retreat into a nearby room but was unable to release the key from the door. With few options left Harrison ran towards Abram to try surprise him and get the knife out of his hand. But this scuffle only ended in multiple stab wounds to Harrison's upper body.

Olivia Harrison came running at Abram with a brass poker and struck many blows to his head. But this only caused him to get up and give chase after her. George, weakened by the stab wounds made one last attempt to tackle the crazed intruder, but was once again shoved to the ground. Feeling no strength left in his body, Harrison's arms fell to his sides as he felt the knife sinking deep, piercing one of his lungs; as it began filling wth blood.

Police finally arrived at Friar Park at 3:45am and tackled Abrams, subduing him and confiscating the knife. Paramedics arrived around the same time and treated Harrison at the scene, trying desperately to stem the flow of blood. Despite the severity of the attack, Harrison downplayed the event with the media.

"He wasn't a burglar but he certainly wasn't auditioning for The Travelling Wilburys." - George Harrison
"He has been stabbed on the right hand side of the chest, with the blade entering just below his collarbone. The knife narrowly missed a blood vessel connecting the heart and the head. If that had been ruptured, he would have perished within a matter of minutes from internal bleeding. He was extremely lucky. If the knife had gone in more than a centimetre either side, then it could have hit some very dangerous things, such as large blood vessels." - Andrew Pengelly - Medical director, Royal Berkshire Hospital

Trial and verdict

Following the attack Abram was put on trial for two counts of attempted murder. But the judge acquitted him of these charges on the grounds of diminished remissibility, after being evaluated by a team of psychiatrists. 

It was later found out that Abrams had a history of drug abuse, mental illness and an unhealthy obsession with the Beatles. After 19 months of detention and treatment Abram was released.

"If I could turn back the clock I would give anything not to have done what I did. But I have come to realise that I was very ill at the time, really not in control. People may find it hard to accept but with the help of medication I'm on I am sure I can lead a normal life. I just want to be a normal bloke." - Michael Abram
George Harrison. 

George Harrison.