SCOTLAND YARD has cleared a man, who frantically sawed at the throat of a stranger at a London tube station, of terrorism, as a court convicted him of attempted murder.
The December 2015 attack came in the aftermath of the Paris massacres and saw Muhiddin Mire scream “This is for my Syrian brothers. I’m going to spill your blood” at Leytonstone station as he swung his blade randomly at four passengers.
The 30-year-old was quickly tasered by police but seriously injured Lyle Zimmerman who suffered three major lacerations on his throat after being attacked from behind in the frenzied rampage captured on CCTV.
The musician was spared death by the quick action of a passing doctor, and the ‘luck’ that Mire wielded a bread knife rather than a sharpened blade.
An onlooker who shouted ‘You ain’t no Muslim bruv’, as Mire was subdued by armed police, ensured that the scene quickly became something of a zeitgeist at a time when major European cities are on constant edge.
Upon further investigation, however, Scotland Yard have concluded that Mire was not a true fanatic intent on political terrorism but was spurred by serious mental health problems that manifested violently in the guise of Islamic radicalism.
His victim Zimmerman testified that he felt Mire was “a crazy person” and another witness described him as having “wide and staring eyes”, while the court heard that the Somalian born former Uber driver had been sectioned in 2006 after ‘losing touch with reality’.
He had no history nor known connections to extremist groups of any stripe and the head of counter-terrorism at Scotland Yard, Dean Haydon, told press after the trial that he “would not class it as a terrorist incident now.”
Perhaps more alarmingly Hayden suggested that Mire was influenced by online Jihadi propaganda which deliberately preyed on vulnerable minds and could catalyse violent action from pre-existing mental conditions.
“Whilst Mire has not been accused of any terrorist offences, it would appear from comments he made at the time of the attack and the content he had downloaded on his phone that he may have been inspired by extremist ideology,” he said.
“Part of their propaganda is specifically targeted in relation to the vulnerable. We’re not just talking about mental health here; we’re talking about vulnerable individuals within the community. As a result of what I would call inspiration as a result of that propaganda, we are seeing more and more lone actors. Spontaneous volatile extremists is another term.”
Police research indicates that roughly 44 per cent of those considered vulnerable to radicalisation have mental health conditions.
Mire has been detained at Broadmoor high security mental facility and will be sentenced on July 27.