Abe Hawken, The Sun, July 3, 2019
AN Afghan asylum seeker who attacked random members of the public with a knife was “fuelled” by a desire to kill English people, a court heard.
Samiulahaq Akbari, 32, could be seen on CCTV footage walking into a Tesco store in Thornton Heath, South London, armed with a large blade.
After tapping stranger Nicholas Speight on the shoulder, Akbari asked for his nationality before taking a powerful swing at him with a 10-inch kitchen knife when he said he was from the UK.
Heidi Stonecliffe, prosecuting, told jurors at the Old Bailey that Mr Speight could not have known that “events would unfold with such frightening speed” following that “fateful reply”.
She said he settled on him “because Mr Speight was English”.
BECAUSE THEY WERE ENGLISH
Ms Stonecliffe added: “On that evening in January this year this defendant had set out deliberately to threaten, harm and kill members of the public by virtue of their nationality, or what Mr Akbari perceived to be their nationality — they were English.”
Despite only lasting a matter of seconds, jurors heard it was more “by luck rather than any design” that Mr Speight managed to kick Akbari off and escape from the attack without a mark on him.
Within 10 minutes or so he allegedly pulled a knife on two other men “fuelled with the same intention”, first in the Kebabish restaurant and later in the Plough on the Pond pub near Croydon.
He first approached John Hoy as he sat at a table with three pals getting ready to eat in a restaurant having just come from a pool tournament at the pub nearby.
Jurors heard Akbari “aggressively and repeatedly” asked Mr Hoy where he was from before going behind the counter, arming himself with the huge red-handled knife and lunging at him.
It was only when the men fought back that Akbari fled, Ms Stonecliffe said.
Akbari then made his way up to the pub where he confronted Barry Watkins, who was on his way out clutching his pool cue and case.
Jurors were shown CCTV footage of him marching Mr Watkins back inside where Akbari similarly demanded to know their nationality.
Ms Stonecliffe said: “He and his friends replied that they were English, at which point the defendant started lunging at them with the knife.”
Akbari, of Thornton Heath, denies attempted murder and wounding with intent against Mr Speight and threatening Mr Hoy with an offensive weapon.
Jurors were told he has admitted two charges of affray over the altercations with Mr Hoy and Mr Watkins along with threatening Mr Watkins with an offensive weapon, namely the knife.
Ms Stonecliffe read extracts from transcripts of the “frantic” 999 calls made by Akbari’s cousin.
He told the operator: “He said he wants to kill the English people. I can see his eyes, he’s serious.”
In another he pleaded: “He will do it. He’s trying to run and he will kill someone. Please come quickly.”
The trial continues.