Knifeman given indefinite hospital order for mosque stabbings

05/02/2014

A 32-year-old man has today been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity at Birmingham Crown Court of the two offences of attempted murder and one offence of wounding with intent.

On 15 June 2013, Mohamoud Elmi entered a mosque in Washwood Heath, Birmingham and attacked a man who was praying in the place of worship resulting in him receiving several stab wounds to his body.

A fellow worshipper, who tried to help the victim, was stabbed in one of his legs.

Staff at the mosque called the emergency services and two police officers arrived at the scene.  They were confronted by the defendant who was holding a large knife.

He was ordered to drop the weapon and raise his hands in the air, but the defendant refused to comply. 
 
Fearing for his safety, one of the officers drew his Taser and issued a warning to Elmi, who again failed to do what he was told. The officer then discharged the Taser which struck the defendant, however, this had no effect on him.  He ran at the officer and attacked him.  The officer sustained a serious stab wound to his abdomen and another knife wound to a shoulder.  His stab-proof vest protected him from a number of other strikes with the knife.

Other officers were later able to restrain and arrest Elmi.

Paramedics arrived at the mosque and administrated first aide to the two worshippers and the injured officer.

Once at the police station, the defendant was medically assessed and he was deemed unfit to be interviewed due to his mental condition. He was detained under the Mental Health Act.
He was later charged with two counts of attempted murder and one charge of wounding with intent.

Martin Lindop, Sector Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"At the time of this incident, Mohamoud Elmi was suffering from a severe mental illness. This caused him to arm himself with a knife and go to a mosque where he believed that people were not worshipping correctly.

"Once inside the mosque, he attacked one worshipper and stabbed him repeatedly.  A fellow worshiper was stabbed when he tried to assist the first victim. 

"When the police arrived, PC Adam Koch sustained a life-threatening stab wound when he tried to arrest the defendant.

"Not guilty by reason of insanity is a special verdict available to a jury in cases in which offences were committed by someone with the most severe mental illness. Based upon expert psychiatric evidence, the jury was satisfied that Elmi was so ill that he could not have known that what he was doing was wrong. The Judge therefore has made Elmi the subject of a Hospital Order with restrictions, which means that he will be detained indefinitely in a hospital and can only be released with the approval of the Secretary of State."