Anthony Travers, who is believed to be in his 60s, staggered out of the George public house, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, at 1.39pm. Mark Lehane, 25, a newspaper seller, said he saw the man stagger down an alley from the side entrance to the pub, with blood coming from his mouth and a wound in his chest.
'He collapsed in front of me,' Mr Lehane said: 'He came out of the door, up the alley towards me. He said, 'The bastard stabbed me in the toilets.' '
Mr Travers then apparently lost consciousness, and was revived by first aid before an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital. Last night he discharged himself against medical advice and went to Bow Street police station to make a statement. The police said Mr Travers had seen his attacker in the lavatory mirror. He was white, aged about 50, heavily built and wearing a blue suit.
At 1.50pm, the usher's office at the court was telephoned by a woman who told them Peter Carter- Ruck, solicitor for Jani Allan, the journalist who has brought the libel action, had been stabbed and would not be appearing in court in the afternoon. Detectives called Mr Carter-Ruck out of the courtroom and interviewed him briefly. Before returning to court an apparently shaken Mr Carter-Ruck, who is about the same age as Mr Travers, telephoned his wife to reassure her that he was safe.
Mr Travers had attended the trial every day since it began last week, but had not been called as a witness and had been mentioned only in passing during cross-examination, when Cornelius Smit, a former AWB committee member in South Africa, was asked if he knew Mr Travers. Mr Smit said he had met him for the first time outside the courtroom.
Trial report, page 3