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New Year’s Eve Manchester station knife attacker given life sentence

|News, Terrorism

A man who stabbed a couple and a police officer in an unprovoked attack at Manchester Victoria Station on New Year’s Eve has today been given a life sentence after he pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder.

Dutch national Mahdi Mohamud, 26 was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after admitting the attacks which took place on New Year’s Eve 2018.

The hearing at Manchester Crown Court heard how the former Rolls-Royce worker attacked the couple as they were making their way home from celebrations in a pub. Mohamud was Tasered by an officer who was on duty at the station but he still managed to attack the sergeant from British Transport Police.

All three were taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary. The police officer was discharged the next day and the couple on 4 January 2019.

During the attack Mohamud was heard to shout “This is for Allah” and afterwards said that the attack was in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims abroad caused by various governments.

At his sentencing on 27 November, the court concluded that at the time of the attack he was suffering from symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia which exacerbated the seeds of Islamist radicalisation which pre-dated the onset of his mental illness in 2015.

He was given a four year prison sentence for possession of a terrorist document and a concurrent life sentence with a minimum of 11 years for the three counts of attempted murder. He was also ordered to be detained at a secure mental hospital.

Jenny Hopkins from the CPS said: “Mahdi Mohamud has been interested in violent Islamist ideology since 2012 and he finally acted on his beliefs on New Year’s Eve.

“The CPS presented evidence from this own writings, internet searches, CCTV, and expert witnesses. We accept that he suffered from a mental illness at the time but the attack was not simply a product of that mental illness.

“I hope this verdict gives the victims not only a sense of justice being done but piece of mind that the public will be protected from him for the foreseeable future.”

Mohamud also pleaded guilty to downloading an online manual in May 2018 that gave advice on where on the body to strike someone with a knife to do maximum harm. One section entitled “Red Stuff” was about blood loss. It included a link to a CCTV video of a fatal stabbing in Essex in 2005.

The Counter Terrorism Division in the CPS, which prosecuted the case, said the document was likely to be of use to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism, and, in particular, the act that Mohamud committed on 31 December. The CPS said it was clear from his research that he had considered an attack involving knives months before December 2018.

A psychiatric assessment concluded he had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia since 2015 – three years after his interest in Islamist ideology began. He also had hallucinations and believed the government was controlling him. He said he had no recollection of the attack or why he carried it out.

Notes to editors

  • Mahdi Mohamud (DOB 10/09/1993) pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder contrary to Section 1 (1) Criminal Attempts Act 1981 and one count of possessing a record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to Section 58(1)(b) Terrorism Act 2000.
  • He was given a four year prison sentence for the possession count and a life sentence with a minimum of 11 years for the three counts of attempted murder. The sentences are concurrent. In addition, he was made subject of a hybrid order under section 45A of the Mental Health Act 1983.
  • Mohamud received a degree in mechanical engineering from Leeds University where he studied between 2012-2016. This included a placement at Rolls Royce in 2015.
  • Jenny Hopkins is the head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division in the CPS.

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