Saturday 20 January 2018

Tube attacker left victim with 12cm neck wound and had 'Syria material' on his mobile, court hears

Muhaydin Mire
Muhaydin Mire

The Leytonstone Tube attacker left his victim with a 12cm knife wound across his neck in an act of terrorism on British streets, a court heard.

Muhaydin Mire, 29, is accused of launching a sustained and unprovoked attack before shouting "this is for Syria, my Muslim brothers".

Material linked to the Syrian conflict and "terrorist actions around the world" were discovered on his mobile phone, it is alleged.

The 6ft 3in suspect spoke only to confirm his name and address as he appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday to answer a holding charge of attempted murder.

Prosecutor David Cawthorne said the 56-year-old victim, named only as "Male A", had been walking through the station at 7pm on Saturday when he was attacked from behind.

The court heard Male A was was hit around the head and body before collapsing to the floor where he was kicked and stamped on by Mire.

Witnesses attempted to intervene before Mire brandished a knife, before holding Male A's head and began to cut his neck "in what is described by some as a sawing motion".

The victim was left in a pool of blood and required five hours of surgery in hospital.

Police arrived at the Tube station at 7.06pm, where Mire was said to be "stalking around the concourse", slashing his knife in the direction of at least two other witnesses.

One officer "fearing for his safety" deployed his Taser twice before another officer also deployed his weapon before Mr Mire fell to the floor and was disarmed.

The Crown said the offences were being treated as "acts of terrorism" falling within definition of section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

As the hearing opened, Mire - who wore a grey t-shirt and matching tracksuit bottoms - had his handcuffs taken off under the orders of district judge Quentin Purdy.

Mire, of Leytonstone, was remanded in custody to appear again at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Male A and another man were taken to hospital. Police have increased patrols at transport hubs to "identify and deter terrorism" after the incident at the station in east London.

Graphic footage of the attacks posted online soon after the incident showed a large pool of blood spattered on the station floor.

The video appeared to show the attacker wildly gesticulating and confronting several people in the station, before slashing a man in the throat area.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Newton, of British Transport Police, said: "The safety of the travelling public remains our top priority. In addition to our usual specialist response teams, last week we launched Project Servator, deploying even more highly-visible police patrols designed to identify and deter terrorism.

"Following Saturday's incident, we are now deploying still more officers in this role. They involve both uniformed and plain-clothed officers, supported by other resources, such as armed officers, police dogs, a network of CCTV cameras, and the thousands of rail staff we work alongside.

"We ask the public to remain calm and carry on using public transport as normal."

Meanwhile, Britain’s armed response to terror attacks was called in to question after uniformed officers were left to deal with the incident at Leytonstone station.

John O’Connor, the former head of the Flying Squad, said it would be a concern if armed officers were not sent at all but it was sign of lack of resources.

Asked if he was surprised, he said: “Not if they were not available. It certainly would have been an additional security measure.

“I would not be surprised when you consider the number of or lack of number of armed personnel.

“It is alarming. We should have thought about this years ago. We still rely on the first people on the scene having to deal with a situation, whoever they are, whether a uniform officer or firearms officer.”

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