Tuesday, March 1, 2011

'I'm off to kill someone': Knifeman planned to kill train passenger to commit 'suicide by cop'

A knifeman who held more than 30 train passengers hostage in a bid to commit 'suicide by cop' has been jailed for five years.

Mohammed Hussain, 20, left a note telling his family he was off to kill someone in the hope he would be gunned down by police.

After an all-night drinking session, he grabbed a kitchen knife and boarded a Docklands Light Railway carriage where he terrorised victims, including the elderly and children.

But when brave passenger Tariq Elmenstirly wrestled him to the ground, the 23-year-old ended up 'Tasered' by police who confused him with the frenzied attacker.

During the ordeal, which lasted more than an hour, a number of desperate travellers risked their lives escaping over live rails as Hussain waved his blade and snarled: 'You're all hostages, I want police to shoot me right here.'

Jailing Hussain at Blackfriars Crown Court, Judge John Hillen gave Mr Elmenstirly an £800 bravery award.

Conductor Gerald Li is to receive £400 from the same fund 'to mark the public's gratitude' for his attempts to calm Hussain.

Bournemouth University student Mr Elmenstirly, of Acton, west London, was mistaken for the suspect by officers from the Metropolitan Police who shocked him with a Taser.

He was left 'temporarily incapacitated' as a result.

Hussain has attempted suicide on other occasions, once
leaping into the River Thames off Westminster Bridge.

Ruling he was a danger to the public, Judge Hillen handed him an extended sentence, meaning he will be on licence for an additional five years following his release.

'Whilst trying to take your own life, you placed others in danger of harm and even death,' the judge said.

'I consider longer protection by licence period to be the only way to mark the public concern.'

Mr Hussain had pulled out a ten-inch blade after boarding the Docklands Light Railway train at 7am on Saturday, July 3.

He operated the emergency stop as the train left Shadwell station and told terrified passengers: 'I'm holding the train hostage'.

After an all-night drinking session, Hussain grabbed a kitchen knife and boarded a Docklands Light Railway carriage where he terrorised victims, including the elderly and children
Around 30 people managed to escape through the emergency exits but Hussain closed the doors, trapping Mr Elmenstirly inside along with ex-paratrooper Colin Ballinger and train guard Mr Li.

'I don't want to see any police officers,' he warned. 'If I see any officers, I'm going to stab someone.'

During the stand off, Hussain said: 'I want to die, I want police to shoot me right here,' pointing to his chest.

Armed officers were monitoring the train but were concealed because of Hussain's threats.

When a police helicopter saw him on the floor with Mr Elmenstirly on top of him, they initially thought someone had been stabbed.

Officers entering the carriage then confused Hussain with Mr Elmenstirly and tasered the hero.

A police spokesman said: 'A Taser was discharged by armed Metropolitan Police officers during the incident and the passenger restraining Hussain was temporarily incapacitated.'

Hussain had been drinking before the incident and left a scrawled suicide note at the home he shared with his mother at Swedenborg Gardens, Shadwell.

It said: 'I love you all very much. This is my time to die any way possible. So I took a knife to kill someone. Allah is calling me - I can hear him.'

Anita Arora, prosecuting, said: 'He wanted suicide by police, effectively.'

Hussain has admitted false imprisonment and possessing an offensive weapon. He will serve half the five year sentence in custody, beginning in a young offender's institution, less 238 days he has spent on remand.

Speaking after his ordeal, Mr Elmenstirly said having thousands of volts of electricity fired into his body was 'horrible'.

'It feels like your heart has stopped for a second and you're motionless because all your muscles are tense,' he said.

'All I was thinking about was trying to breathe. I fell to the floor but I was conscious the whole time.'

A Met Police spokeswoman said: 'Mr Elmenstirly acted very bravely that day and it is regrettable that he was Tasered following police intervention. Mr Elmenstirly received appropriate care and support at the time and the incident was then reviewed by senior officers who apologised to him on behalf of the Metropolitan Police.

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