New Year’s Eve jihadist tried to kill 3 at station in knife frenzy
A RADICALISED graduate yesterday admitted carrying out a frenzied knife attack on New Year’s Eve.
Mahdi Mohamud shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘long live the caliphate’ as he stabbed a middle-aged couple he had singled out at random.
Alerted by the screams, a British Transport Police officer fired his Taser at the 26-year-old but it had no effect because of his padded jacket.
Mohamud turned on Sergeant Lee Valentine and plunged the 10in blade into his shoulder. The officer said he looked into Mohamud’s eyes but ‘it was just like an animal’.
Colleagues arrived to disarm and arrest Mohamud, who lay ranting on the platform. He admitted three counts of attempted murder and one of having terror materials.
A judge was told Mohamud suffered from a mental illness linked to smoking cannabis but this did not in itself explain his rampage.
Last year’s attack at Victoria Station in Manchester brought back memories of the suicide bombing at the nearby arena 18 months earlier.
The victims – Anna Charlton, 57, and James Knox, 52 – had spent the afternoon at a pub and were rushing to catch a tram home at 8.50pm.
Dutch-born Mohamud had spent months in a mental hospital in Somalia before returning to his family home in Manchester weeks earlier.
A document he had written illustrated his care in planning his attack, Alison Morgan, QC, told the city’s Crown Court. It began with the instructions: ‘Simple, unpredictable, steadfast, don’t waste time.’
Miss Charlton felt a blow from behind when she was hurrying down the tram platform.
Miss Morgan said: ‘She described the attacker as having an overwhelmingly powerful energy and realised at this point they were not being mugged – this was targeted.’
Mr Knox tried to kick Mohamud as police and security guards sprinted to the scene. The knifeman dodged out of their way and started jabbing his blade at Miss Charlton’s face.
As he was brought to the floor, he shouted, ‘This is for Allah’, and ‘That’s what happens when you start bombing Muslim countries’.
Recalling the confrontation, Sgt Valentine said he looked into Mohamud’s eyes and it was like ‘there’s nothing there’. His expression was ‘not even that of like a madman – it was just like an animal’.
Mohamud was led to a police van, where he was searched, revealing a second knife under his jacket.
Sgt Valentine suffered a stab wound in the shoulder but was saved from more serious injury by his five layers of clothing and protective gear.
Miss Charlton, who suffered a collapsed lung, and Mr Knox, who had 13 injuries including a fractured skull, were treated by an off-duty doctor before being taken to hospital.
Miss Morgan submitted that it had been ‘intended to be a lethal attack’ driven by his ‘extremist ideology and his desire to perform violent jihad’.
Rebecca Trowler, QC, defending, said the rampage was a consequence of his deep-seated mental illness.
Mohamud, who studied mechanical engineering at Leeds University, is expected to be sentenced today.
‘It was just like an animal’
Targeted attack: Mohamud raises his knife, circled, to stab James Knox at Manchester’s Victoria Station 1
Wounds: Anna Charlton and Mr Knox are comforted 3
Downed: A ranting Mohamud is subdued and handcuffed 2