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Man who tried to behead man during ISIS inspired rampage is jailed for life

CCTV of Muhiddin Mire during a shocking rampage at Leytonstone Tube station
CCTV of Muhiddin Mire during a shocking rampage at Leytonstone Tube station

A schizophrenic knifeman who tried to behead a musician during an Islamic State-inspired rampage at a Tube station has been sentenced to life in prison.

Somali-born Muhiddin Mire, 30, targeted strangers at random in the ticket hall at Leytonstone Underground station in east London on December 5 last year.

He grabbed fellow passenger Lyle Zimmerman and attempted to murder the 56-year-old after they travelled on the same train from Stratford to Leytonstone, where Mire lived alone in Sansom Road.

Mire will serve a minimum of eight and a half years before being considered for parole, and will start his sentence at Broadmoor secure hospital.

The whole incident was caught on shocking CCTV and mobile phone footage taken by a passer-by who bravely carried on filming even as Mire lunged at him with the rusty blade.

One onlooker shouted at him: "You ain't no Muslim, bruv", after he declared he was going to "spill blood" for his "Syrian brothers".

Sentencing him at the Old Bailey, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, Recorder of London, said that while he accepted Mire was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the offence, he was also of the opinion he had been motivated by events in Syria.

He continued: "In other words, because Muslims were being bombed in Syria, he was going to attack civilians here.

"That was designed to intimidate a section of the public, and it was to advance an extreme cause."

Judge Hilliard added that Mire's "brazen" actions were carried out in order to advance a "religious and extremist cause".

"This was an attempt to to kill an innocent member of the public for ideological reasons by cutting his throat in plain sight for maximum impact," he said.

Flanked by several dock officers and wearing a blue tracksuit top, Mire stared ahead as he was sentenced.

Judge Hilliard went on to publicly commend Mire's four other victims, the doctor who helped Mr Zimmerman and the first police officer on the scene, for their "courage and presence of mind".

Mire had images of Fusilier Lee Rigby and British Islamic State (IS) executioner Jihadi John on his mobile phone, along with material linked to IS.

He has a history of mental illness and psychosis, including the paranoid belief that he was being persecuted for his religion and stalked by MI5 and MI6.

Muhiddin Mire

But prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said the stabbing was a "revenge attack" for the events in Syria.

He told the court: "We suggest that it can be no coincidence that the attack was carried out some three days after Parliament had voted to extend the UK bombing campaign against Isis in Syria."

When detained, Mire told officers "Why don't you finish me off? You know that's what we do."

The prosecutor submitted this was a reference to so-called Islamic State jihadists slitting the throats of their victims.

Mr Zimmerman said he was "fortunate" to have received prompt first aid treatment at the scene from a passing junior doctor.

In a statement read during a pre-sentence hearing, the victim said he was "quite lucky" to have survived.

"I have been left with a scar on my neck which I am aware of only because it pulls when I use my voice but is otherwise superficial and healing well," Mr Zimmerman said.

"I am somewhat more cautious about interacting with strangers since the attack - overall I have not been significantly traumatised by the attack psychologically," he added.

Mire has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and suffered his first episode of psychosis in 2006, the court heard.

He apparently first viewed IS material on his phone around three years before the attack.

Mire was found guilty of attempted murder, and admitted four counts of attempted wounding and an alternative count of wounding with intent to cause Mr Zimmerman grievous bodily harm.