London Tube knifing was for 'Syrian brothers': court

31st May 2016, Comments 0 comments

A man slashed the throat of a London Underground passenger for his "Syrian brothers", a court heard Tuesday.

The aftermath of the incident in December was captured on mobile phone footage, and a bystander's retort to the attacker -- "You ain't no Muslim, bruv" -- became famous in Britain.

Muhiddin Mire, a 30-year-old Somali-born taxi driver, is accused of attacking 56-year-old musician Lyle Zimmerman at Leytonstone Tube station in east London. Zimmerman survived the attack.

As the trial opened, London's Old Bailey central criminal court was told that Mire had said as he lashed out: "This is for my Syrian brothers. I'm going to spill your blood."

He had added: "Do you know if you live in Syria they bomb you? I'm going to attack your civilians."

Mire's mobile phone contained a graph showing US and coalition air strikes on the Islamic State jihadist group and images of hostages before they were executed by having their throats cut, prosecutor Jonathan Rees told jurors.

The incident was captured on security cameras as well as by a member of the public on his phone, the Old Bailey heard.

The prosecutor said Mire launched a brutal attack on "wholly innocent" commuters.

He flung Zimmerman to the floor and kicked him repeatedly around the head.

"At the end of the assault, when Mr Zimmerman was lying motionless and defenceless on the floor of the ticket hall, the defendant crouched over him and quite deliberately began to cut Mr Zimmerman's throat with a knife blade," the prosecutor said.

Mire then swung the blade at others in the station.

The court heard Mire accepts he used the knife and has pleaded guilty to wounding Zimmerman with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and to attempting to wound four other Tube passengers.

He is being tried for attempted murder, having pleaded not guilty to that charge.

Jurors must decide whether, at the time of the attack, he tried to kill Zimmerman.

Mire sat in the dock with an interpreter.

The defendant had suffered from mental illness for years and suffered his first psychotic episode in 2006, the court heard.

A month before the Underground station incident, doctors referred him to the mental health services, saying he had paranoid delusions he was being followed by the security services.


© 2016 AFP

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