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Praise after Manchester terror sentencing

British Transport Police (BTP) and transport security officers have been praised after the sentencing at Manchester Crown Court of a man who attacked travellers with a knife on the Metrolink platforms at Manchester Victoria station on New Year’s Eve 2018.

Pictured are left to right Adam Ward of Metrolink; from BTP Lee Valentine, Marsha Selby, Ashleigh Williams and Tom Wright; and Miah Uddin of Metrolink, at a commendation ceremony in February. They intervened after a man wielding a knife had stabbed two passengers.

BTP Sgt Lee Valentine received a stab injury to his shoulder. After the sentence he said: “The screams heard at Manchester Victoria were chilling, from the moment we heard them our instincts took over.

“My colleagues Marsha and Ashleigh were the first to encounter the suspect intervening whilst he was savagely attacking his victims. They immediately ran over, putting themselves in danger by positioning themselves between the suspect and the victims, armed only with a baton and incapacitant spray. Without a doubt, they prevented further serious harm being caused to the victims, potentially saving their lives and other members of the public.

“Tom and I arrived mere seconds later, supporting Marsha and Ashleigh, alongside the Metrolink staff. We could see him waving a large knife in the air shouting threats. I drew my Taser and Tom drew his baton, the Taser was deployed but the suspect immediately charged towards me leaping in the air and stabbing my shoulder. I grabbed him and we ended up on the floor, together we managed to restrain him.

“It was all over within seconds. The Metrolink Staff and my team acted professionally, with restraint and with great bravery.”

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan said: “I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and swift action of the two Metrolink TravelSafe Officers who initially helped to detain Mahdi Mohamud and ensure that this shocking incident was unable to escalate further.”

The man, 25 at the time of the crime, admitted three counts of attempted murder and a terrorism offence (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). Dutch national Mahdi Mohamud, 26, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after admitting the attacks.

At his sentencing on November 27, 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, head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division in the Crown Prosecution Service (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.”


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