Animal rights activist ‘stabs woman in church for wearing fur’

Matt Drake
Mugshot of Meredith Lowell who is accused of stabbing a woman wearing fake fur: Cleveland Police

An animal rights activist has been accused of stabbing a woman inside a church for wearing fake fur, officials said.

Meredith Lowell, 35, was charged with attempted murder and assault for the incident which took place at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, US.

It is believed Ms Lowell attacked a babysitter who was dropping off children at the church for choir practice and wearing fur boots, reports.

According to local news outlet WKYC-TV, the fur on the woman’s boots was actually fake.

Chief Mecklenburg said at a press conference Thursday morning: “It is our belief the motive behind the attack was believed to be the victim wearing fur.

“It’s a little different. It’s going to take a lot more legwork by our detectives but they are actively looking into everything.”

Ms Lowell was also charged eight years ago in 2012 for offering $700 (£540) to an undercover FBI agent posing as a hit-man to kill someone wearing fur with either a gun or a knife.

According to court documents, she also wanted the victim to be older than 12 and preferably older than 14, but anyone over 12 would be “OK”.

But the case was dismissed by US District Judge Patricia Gaughan in January 2013 after a forensic psychologist found her incompetent to stand trial.

Judge Gaughan said: “On January 11, 2013, Leslie Powers, Forensic Psychologist, issued a report stating that the defendant remained incompetent due to mental disease or defect, but did not pose a danger to herself, the community, or property.”

Ms Lowell, 35, is currently being held on a $1 million bond (£774,380) after the attack Wednesday afternoon at the Presbyterian church.

The activist allegedly stabbed her victim twice in the arm and once in the abdomen with a kitchen knife, according to a Cleveland Heights police report.

A man wrestled Lowell to the floor and held her until officers arrived, the police report said.

The victim remained hospitalised Thursday and her condition was unclear.

Chief Mecklenburg commended the actions of the church staff member and parishioner who intervened.

She said: “They put their safety at risk. They were able to restrain her and hold her down until the police arrived.

“They are to be commended for their actions no doubt.”

Lowell was arrested a year ago on suspicion of attacking someone she believed was wearing fur at a Whole Foods store in University Heights.

A police report said Lowell punched and then tried to cut a woman wearing a jacket with fake fur on its hood with the serrated blade of a Swiss Army knife.

The jacket was gashed, a police photo shows, but the woman was not cut.

Lowell was indicted in January on one count of felonious assault in Cuyahoga County.

An online court docket shows she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity last month and the case is pending.

Additional reporting by agencies

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