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BBC News' Stephen Cape
"George Harrison is lucky to be alive"
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Michael Palin
"A lovely caring man"
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Sheila Johnston, Manager, The Beatles Story
"Shock and horror"
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Thursday, 30 December, 1999, 23:10 GMT
Harrison attack 'deliberate'

George and Olivia Harrison were attacked in their home

Police believe the stabbing of former Beatle George Harrison was a deliberate attack, rather than a bungled burglary.

The musician is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in the chest by an intruder at his home.

A man, named as Mike Abram, 33, from Liverpool, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following the attack on the star and his wife Olivia at their mansion in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire early on Thursday morning.

Mike Abram Mike Abram has been arrested in connection with the attack
The officer leading the investigation for Thames Valley Police, Detective Chief Inspector Euan Read said: "I am not at all sure this is a burglary that has gone wrong, I suspect the offender has come down here deliberately.

"We are picking over his background and finding what makes him tick and why."

Mr Read said the couple, who were woken by the sound of broken glass, were attacked by a man wielding a six-inch knife after he broke into their Henley home through a kitchen window.

He said officers have recovered the weapon.

He wasn't a burglar but he certainly wasn't auditioning for the Travelling Wilburys
George Harrison
The couple grappled with the intruder and it is thought they were able to detain him until police arrived.

Merseyside Police later searched an address in Huyton, Liverpool, in connection with the incident.

The 56-year-old former Beatle was treated in The Royal Berkshire Hospital, in Reading, before being transferred to a specialist chest unit at the Harefield Hospital in Uxbridge, north west London.

His life was never in danger but Mark Gritten, a spokesman for the Royal Berkshire, said the couple were "deeply traumatised" by the incident.

Police stand guard outside the star's estate
Mr Gritten said Harrison had not lost his sense of humour, adding: "The quote he gave me was that the man wasn't a burglar but that he certainly wasn't auditioning for the Travelling Wilburys".

The hospital's medical director, Andrew Pengelly, said the one inch stab wound was deep enough to penetrate through the wall of Mr Harrison's chest, but the blade had missed any major organs.

He said: "It could have been an awful lot worse."

Harrison's wife, who was treated for minor injuries, is at his hospital bedside.

The man suspected of the attack was treated for minor injuries at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and was later discharged into custody at St Aldate's police station in the city.

Police said they were "keeping an open mind" about the motive and would talk to the suspect once he was well enough to interview.

Former Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were told of the attack along with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono.

John Lennon: Shot dead in 1980
Sir Paul said: "Thank God that both George and Olivia are all right. I send them all my love."

A statement from Ringo and his wife Barbara Bach at their California home said: "Both Barbara and I are deeply shocked that this has occurred.

"We send George and Olivia all our love and wish George a speedy recovery."

The Harrisons have lived at Friar Park, a former nunnery close to the centre of Henley, for more than 20 years.

Security at the estate is tight, with high walls surrounding the grounds. It is also close to Henley's police station.

Mr Read said police were investigating how the attacker managed to get into the house undetected.

The attack came almost exactly 19 years after fellow Beatle John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment by an obsessed fan.

Harrison played guitar in the Beatles, and was the "second-string" songwriter after the legendary partnership of Lennon and McCartney.

Post-Beatles, Harrison has had solo success in the 1970s, before making a 1990s comeback with The Travelling Wilburys, a group he formed with Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan.
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See also:
30 Dec 99 |  UK
Sir Paul: Thank God they're OK
30 Dec 99 |  UK
Neighbours tell of 'Fort Knox'
30 Dec 99 |  UK
The Beatles' separate paths
30 Dec 99 |  UK
George Harrison: The quiet one
30 Dec 99 |  Medical notes
Collapsed lung factfile

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