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Pub knife campaign launched by attack victim

11 Dec 2022 6 minute read
Jake Pickstock and Janet Finch-Saunders

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

The survivor of a horrific stabbing in a Llandudno nightclub attack is leading a North Wales anti-knife campaign.

Jake Pickstock, 25, was brutally slashed twice across his head and throat whilst he was enjoying drinks with friends at Llandudno’s One47 Club.

Jake, a former pupil at Ysgol Aberconwy, says he died twice before doctors saved his life in the early hours of 21 August 2021.

Jake was out celebrating becoming self-employed when the 19-year-old knifeman approached him before the unprovoked attack.

Now Jake is launching #OperationPickstock together with Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders.

Operation Pickstock is an anti-knife campaign backed by the Llandudno Pub Watch scheme, Conwy County Council, and North Wales Police.

As part of the campaign, Llandudno pub door staff will be given metal-detecting knife-wands by North Wales Police in a bid to catch potential offenders.

Posters will also warn young people of the dangers of knives on buses, trains, and taxis – with Llew Jones, Arriva, and the council onboard.

The posters will be prominent at North Wales railway stations, and Transport for Wales has also agreed for amnesty bins to be placed at stations to help keep knives off the streets.


Jake grew up in Penmaenmawr but now lives in Llandudno where he runs his own business making boat covers.

Jake recounted the harrowing events of the day he was stabbed and explained why he was backing the campaign.

“That day (of the attack) was quite a special day. I had handed in my resignation to my previous job to go self-employed full-time,” he said.

“My best friend rang me and said, ‘we’ll go out and do something’. We went for a meal at Romeo’s in Llandudno, went to Chester to do a bit of bowling, and then we came back to town at about midnight.

“Another lad we were with said we should go for a quick drink before we went home, so we walked into One47 just after midnight.

“I got a drink at the bar and sat down at a little booth. The music was loud. There was a good atmosphere. My friend went to the toilet after a couple of drinks. Another chap has come over. I don’t really remember too much. That’s where the fear aspect kicked in, the adrenaline.

“The other chap came over, and it happened very quickly. We didn’t know each other. I didn’t know who he was until three days later when it was released in the Daily Post.

“I remember lying on the floor, the warm blood. I remember standing up after (being stabbed). I don’t remember dropping (to the floor). I opened my eyes again, and there were probably 60 people around me in a circle.

“Some people I recognised. Some I didn’t. I remember one person holding my head, another on my arm trying to reassure me continuously.

“I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I thought I’d been hit. I didn’t realise I’d been stabbed until I woke up in hospital a day later.

“I was hurt pretty bad. I pretty much died twice. I was losing consciousness, and then I got to hospital and had a fit. I had 62 stitches.

“I was cut from the top of my scalp right down. My ear was hanging off. Right down across the throat. Two slashes.

“I remember up to the incident. I don’t remember it actually happening. I remember bits after it (the slashing) happened.”


Although he nearly lost his life, Jake explained the repercussions were widespread, affecting not just two families but a whole community.

“The impact stems from just one person, the victim, to my mum, my dad, my nain before she passed away – she was too scared to go out of the house. It was a massive thing in the local area,” he said.

“It’s not just my family. It affects the local community. The staff in the club, they saw it. Some didn’t come back to work. The door staff were traumatised. They had held someone dying in their arms for an hour before the ambulance arrived.

“It was a split second. It has changed me quite a lot. I’m very vigilant. I don’t want to go out of the house. It has taken a lot of counselling to get back to where I am today, to be standing here and talking about it.

“It is not easy. It is never going to be easy. It’s not easy to go out for a drink in town. I’ll go on the odd occasion, but I refrain from it. It’s affected the work aspect, trying to deal with lots of things.

“Trying to run a business with staff working for you was quite difficult. But it is achievable. Working on things, bit by bit, things get better. I’ve got a good team around me. Janet and Mostyn (works for Janet) have been amazing. My family has been amazing. People I work with have been amazing.”

Lives not knives

Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders praised Jake and his bravery, explaining the life-changing incident had taken place in just 40 seconds.

“We are standing here with Jake, a very successful businessman, but it could have been so different,” she said.

“That 40 seconds, to come to, in a pool of blood, the people at One47 were amazing. I think of the impact on Jake’s life and his family and also the young man himself (the offender); his life has been ruined by this.

“The message we are trying to get out with Operation Pickstock is no matter how tempting it is to carry a knife, you mustn’t because you are putting yourself in a very dangerous position. Lives not knives is the campaign message.

“It is remarkable Jake is standing here today. He is very brave, having to relive that to tell this story, but he’s doing it to prevent it from happening to someone else.”

She added: “Llandudno is a very safe place. This was a very frightening and horrific incident, a very rare incident, but nevertheless what Jake wants to do now is build on the bad to turn it into good to make sure no other young person thinks it’s great to carry a knife because the impact on their family as well as the victim’s family is huge.

“So we have got some wands to check for knives, going in all the pubs. We have posters going up on trains, buses, and taxis. North Wales Police have been amazing. It is a multi-agency operation. My ultimate desire is to go around the schools with North Wales Police to get this on the curriculum.”

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