“I pushed him away with both hands then stood up to try to protect my wife from him. I don’t know what happened from this point, but I know there was blood.”
London: A passenger desperately tried to protect his burqa-clad wife while being repeatedly stabbed by a man who boarded a train shouting ‘Kill the Muslims‘.
Muhammed Aksar Ali was travelling back home in a train after visiting the mosque when 38 year-old Adrian Brown, stormed on to the over ground train in east London.
He said in a statement read to jurors how he heard shouts of ‘looking for Muslims’ and ‘kill the Muslims’ as Brown moved towards them.
“My wife said to keep quiet and keep our heads down,” said Mr Ali.
Jurors heard Brown then stood right in front of the couple, yelling: “Are you Muslim?”
“Before I could answer or say anything he raised his right arm above his head and brought the knife down towards me at least twice,” said Mr Ali in his statement.
“I don’t know what happened from this point, but I know there was blood”
“I pushed him away with both hands then stood up to try to protect my wife from him.”
Brown continued to stab Mr Ali’s head, chest and back before other passengers bravely intervened, the court heard.
Off-duty PC David Pearson, who was on his way to work, told Southwark Crown Court how he confronted Brown and asked him to drop the knife.
Brown pointed the blade at PC Pearson before saying: “It’s OK, you’re OK, you’re Christian”, the court was told.
PC Pearson then followed Brown while contacting emergency services to give them a description of the attacker.
A doctor left both her children on the platform at Forest Hill station to go on to the train to tend to Mr Ali, the court heard.
“‘Determined and focused’ while carrying out the ‘frenzied attack’,” Witness Louis Nixon, a university lecturer, described Brown.
He told the jury: “It was a very forceful attack and I was surprised the person who was attacked survived.
“The person with the knife was punching the knife very forcefully into the victim and it seemed to be sustained, I think three or four blows at that time.’
Mr Ali said that he faced another three weeks of recovery treatment and has been left in fear of another attack.
He said: ‘I am struggling to sleep at the moment because every time I close my eyes I have flashbacks about the whole thing,” Mr Ali added, confirming his wife was similarly affected.
“When I leave the house, when people walk towards me, I fear they are going to attack me.”
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court are being asked to decide whether Brown was legally insane at the time of the stabbing.
Brown has a long history of mental illness and was living at Honor Lea Hostel in Lewisham at the time.
A few hours before the attack, on the morning of December 12 last year, Brown became upset when the hot water was turned off for maintenance work.
Michael Isaac, a support worker at the hostel, told the court: “He was very angry about that and said words to the effect of ‘When is the hot water going to come back on?’
“He then said something to the effect of ‘I’m going to kill ISIS’ or ‘I’m going to kill Muslims’, words to that effect.”
Brown left the hostel at 1pm and headed to Honor Oak train station to board a southbound train.
He first approached passenger Syeda Hussain and shouted out: “Where are all the Muslims?” and “I’m going to kill all the Muslims.”
In a statement read to the court, Ms Hussain told how Brown held a knife to her throat as he continued his demands.
She said: “I felt he was definitely going to stab me and I was paralysed in shock.”
Brown then walked off and she heard someone further up the carriage shouting: “He’s done it.”
“I could hear screaming and was in fear for my life,” she said.