Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Leytonstone Tube attack jury shown footage of police Tasering knifeman

Published 01/06/2016

A police cordon outside Leytonstone Tube station after Muhaydin Mire launched a knife attack on passengers
A police cordon outside Leytonstone Tube station after Muhaydin Mire launched a knife attack on passengers

Dramatic footage of a knife attacker shouting "God is great" in Arabic as he was Tasered after going on a rampage through a Tube station has been shown to a jury.

Police officers fired their stun guns three times before Muhiddin Mire, 30, was brought to the ground at Leytonstone Underground station on December 5 last year.

In what he claimed was an attack "for Syria" he cut the throat of musician Lyle Zimmerman so that his windpipe was exposed, the Old Bailey heard, before lashing out at a number of other passengers.

Mire was filmed outside the station by a member of the public, Daniel Bielinski, who could be heard in a five-minute clip played in court screaming "Call for police" and trying to warn other passengers away as Mire returned inside, still clutching a knife.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told the jury the footage was "fairly dramatic stuff, as you will appreciate".

It showed Mire slowly walking after Polish Mr Bielinski, who continued filming him and asked in heated exchanges: "Why you attack me and my girlfriend?"

As Mire returned to the station, Mr Bielinski screamed: "Be careful, be careful. Knife blade. Call for police. Security."

After police officers arrived, Mire shouted "Allahu Akbhar" (God is great) as he was hit for a third time with a stun gun.

Mr Rees told the jury images of murdered soldier Lee Rigby and British Islamic State (IS) executioner Jihadi John were found on his Samsung phone, along with material linked to IS.

He said: "The contents of the defendant's phone, when looked at alongside what he said during the course of the incident... provides an insight as to what motivated the defendant to do what he did and what he was seeking to do to Mr Zimmerman."

As Mire was led away by police, he said "this is for Syria, for my Muslim brothers," and explained that his actions were in response to the bombings of hospitals in the war-torn state, the jury was told.

The musician suffered "a deep and ragged wound" to his neck, and his windpipe was exposed. There were three cuts - one 4.7in (12cm) long and two 2in (5cm) long.

The performer, who was 56 at the time, was on his way to a gig, carrying a small amplifier and a mandolin and with an electric guitar strapped to his back, when he was attacked.

He said he was "shocked by something violent happening".

Giving evidence from behind a screen, he said: "I remember that I started to yell for help. I remember being forced down, but I don't remember whether I was punched or shoved."

He told the jury he got "into as near as a foetal position" as he could and tried to protect his head.

He said he was kicked around six times, and they were "very, very violent kicks".

As well as the neck injuries, the attack caused a fault in his vision, a cracked tooth and bruising to his face.

He told the jury: "At the time my subjective impression was that I was being attacked by a crazy person, a mentally unwell person."

The jury was read a series of witness statements detailing the attack on Mr Zimmerman.

Louise McGuinness said: "He pulled the blade in and out across the throat but no cut was made and no blood appeared.

"I watched as he began to saw through the man's neck six or seven times. This time blood did come. I could literally hear the man's skin ripping open. Blood began to flow."

She said Mire pointed at her and told her "you're next" when she shouted "stop, you arsehole", but they were separated by the ticket barrier.

Catherine McEvoy said she saw Mire kicking Mr Zimmerman and feared he might die if the attack continued, "because he was putting so much effort into it". She said Mire appeared "angry, aggressive and frenzied".

London Underground worker Glyn Jackson described seeing Mr Zimmerman curled up on the floor, and Mire kicking him in a way that was "noticeably more violent than I've ever seen before", before he started "sawing at his neck".

Colleague Lloyd Owusu-Ansah said Mire was "wide-eyed" and "crazed". "I thought that he might just attack anyone," he said.

Somali-born Mire, who came to Britain as a young boy, accepts that he used the knife, and the issue for the jury to decide is whether he intended to kill Mr Zimmerman.

Mire, of Sansom Road, Leytonstone, denies attempted murder but admits four counts of attempted wounding and an alternative count of wounding with intent to cause Mr Zimmerman grievous bodily harm.

Junior doctor Matthew Smith, who gave evidence in person, was on his way home from work at Homerton University Hospital when he heard other passengers say someone had been stabbed and saw "the victim sitting propped up against the barriers in a pool of blood".

He felt the musician's neck wound "was life-threatening". Dr Smith said that when Mire came back into the ticket hall, "I was really very scared".

He added: "I obviously feared for my own safety and wanted to run away... but I didn't want to leave Mr Zimmerman. So I asked him if he could stand up. He said, 'I think so'."

Dr Smith managed to get the musician, who was showing signs of shock, back up to the train platform where he continued to give him first aid.

Andrius Sabaliauskas said Mire told him "this is for my Syrian brothers, I'm going to spill your blood."

He twice tried to slash at him with his knife, as Mr Sabaliauskas looked for chances to distract or "jump him".

Lift engineer David Pethers saw Mire lunging at Mr Sabaliauskas and shouted out to try to stop him, swinging his bag in an attempt to knock him to the ground.

Mire then lunged at him with the knife, cutting his neck. "He said he was going to kill me and my parents," Mr Pethers told the court.

The trial was adjourned to Thursday.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph