Robber Mohamed Rahman given life sentence after stabbing two police officers in central London
A robber who stabbed two officers in London’s West End following a police pursuit has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years.
Mohamed Rahman, 25, knifed police constable Joseph Gerrard in the neck and chest – “targeting where the Met (stab) vest did not provide protection” – and Pc Alannah Mulhall in the arm early on 16 September last year.
The officers were a part of the Met’s Central West Command Unit responsible for policing Westminster, and have both told how they experienced enduring pain and extensive changes to their lives after the incident.
A group of officers pursued Rahman after a member of the public, Mark Graven, told police the defendant had revealed to him a knife before taking his phone powerbank in Shaftesbury Avenue.
Over the course of the police pursuit – which led them to Leicester Square and during which Pava spray and tasers were unable to contain the defendant – Rahman stabbed both Pc Mulhall and Pc Gerrard with a kitchen knife he had appropriated, and inflicted a cut to Pc Richard Ulla’s finger.
Rahman, of Notting Hill, west London, was convicted in October after a trial at Kingston Crown Court of the attempted murder of Pc Gerrard and grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent against Pc Mulhall as well as convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Pc Ulla, two counts of threatening a person in a public place with a bladed article against two other officers and possession of a bladed article.
Rahman was further found guilty of robbing Mr Graven and was given a minimum term of 20 years, minus the 449 days he has already spent on remand.
Judge Rajeev Shetty told Rahman: “I am sure that you are capable of the most violent kind of behaviour to others which has the potential to kill. Anyone who is unhinged enough to attack a group of police officers …poses an even greater risk to the public.”
Pc Gerrard said in a statement made in February, read by the prosecution in court, that he was “in agony every single day” for months and that his life had come to a “complete standstill”.
In a statement he made in September, the officer said he is still not back to “zero pain”. He said: “It has been an uphill struggle to get myself free from injury. It has been a long, frustrating year. My life has been on hold. I’m sick and tired of how long rehabilitation is taking.”
Pc Mulhall read two statements out in court, the first made in February, in which she said: “It was a terrifying incident to be part of and will forever scar me mentally and physically.”
She told the court how she moved back to her parents’ house and “essentially became an infant again" adding "After the incident I cried for 96 days in a row."
She told of how she felt “a lot of guilt” over the fact that she pushed the emergency button which triggered other officers’ involvement in the incident, including Pc Gerrard.
“I thought Pc Gerrard was going to die that morning and this is a thought that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Pc Mulhall said.
In her September statement, made just over a year after the incident, she said: “The Alannah I knew died that morning and in her place now is a girl I don’t recognise.” She looked at and addressed Rahman sitting in the dock, telling him how he has “taken so much away from me”.
Chris Henley KC, defending, told the court his client had been going through a “mental health crisis” and had become “increasingly paranoid” in the days leading up to the incident.
The court heard Rahman came into contact with police three days before the incident, following reports that he was feeling suicidal, after which he spent days living on the streets.
Rahman, wearing a white skull cap and blue robe, wrote a letter of apology that was read out by his barrister in court, saying he wished he could go back and change what happened, adding: “I feel extremely guilty for what I have done.”
He called his actions “out of character”, labelled himself a non-violent person and insisted it was “never” his intention to hurt anyone and said he had “nothing against the police”.
After sentencing, the judge gave commendations to Pcs Gerrard and Mulhall, and other officers involved.
David Malone, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London South, said: “This was a shocking and horrific incident that highlights the courage required to be a frontline police officer. I hope this case sends out a clear message to those who carry knives and plan to harm others. You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted, whenever our legal test is met.”
Detective Inspector Ollie Stride who led the investigation said: “Today’s sentencing of Rahman for the attempted murder of PC Joe Gerrard and the serious injury of PC Alannah Mulhall reflects the seriousness of his offences. The courage and bravery of Joe and Alannah, as well as the medical intervention of their colleagues, firearms officers and paramedics, prevented a much worse outcome.”