Mosque attacker who set fire to worshippers sentenced to high security hospital stay | UK News


Mosque attacker who set fire to worshippers sentenced to high security hospital stay | UK News

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Mohammed Abbkr, 29, was found guilty of attempted murder after he attacked two elderly worshippers last year (Picture: SWNS/PA)

A man has been ordered to stay in a high security hospital for setting mosque worshippers on fire in London and Birmingham.

Mohammed Abbkr, 29, was found guilty of attempted murder after he attacked two elderly worshippers in February and March last year.

He prayed with the congregations before waiting for victims Hashi Odowa, 82, and Mohammed Rayaz, 70, to leave their mosques.

Abbkr followed both men before spraying them with petrol from a water bottle and setting them on fire with a lighter.

He first targeted Mr Odowa in Ealing, London on February 27 after he failed to recognise him.

‘I swear in the name of Allah you will know me,’ he told his victim seconds before the attack.

Mr Odowa escaped serious injury as he was able to remove his burning clothes while a neighbour helped smother the flames.

But Birmingham Crown Court heard Mr Odowa has been left with significant psychological affects, and no longer feels safe at the mosque.

Four weeks later, Abbkr sprayed petrol on Mr Rayaz because he did not speak Arabic.

Mohammed Rayaz was in hospital with for weeks after the attack (Picture: Family Handout/SWNS)
Burnt clothing from Mohammed Rayaz after the attack (Picture: PA)
Mohammed Abbkr (red arrow) inching closer and closer to his victim (Picture: PA)

He was left with serious burns, particularly to his head, and was in hospital for a number of weeks.

CCTV captured the moment he was engulfed in a ball of flames.

When the fire began to subside, Abbkr threw more petrol onto the victim, causing a second fireball to erupt.

Nicholas de la Poer KC, prosecuting, told the court in November: ‘When the defendant threw petrol on Mr Rayaz and set fire to him and then added further petrol to the flames, he was intending to kill him.’

Mohammed Rayaz, 70, arriving for a prayer service at the Dudley Road Mosque, before he was attacked (Picture: PA)
Screen grab taken from CCTV footage dated 20/03/23 of Mohammed Abbkr (red arrow) following Mohammed Rayaz (blue arrow) (Picture: PA)

After his arrest, Abbkr was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia involving persecutory and religious delusions.

Judge Melbourne Inman KC said: ‘The nature of each attack was identical. You threw petrol over your victims and then set them alight – the attacks were horrific.

‘The two victims in this case were, on any rational view, chosen at random,’ the judge added. ‘You, however, genuinely believed each of them was one of those trying to take control of you.

‘I am wholly satisfied that you committed both of these offences at a time when you were suffering a severe mental illness.’

A bag recovered from the address of Mohammed Abbkr(Picture: PA)

Abbkr, who is being treated at Ashworth high security hospital in Merseyside, watched the proceedings by video-link.

Counter-terrorism police did investigate the incident but no motive was identified.

Chief Inspector Haroon Chughtai, from West Midlands Police, said: ‘This was not treated as a terrorist incident. To date there is no evidence of an ideology.

‘These were horrific unprovoked attacks on two men in their 70s and 80s who were leaving their local mosques and going home after their prayers.’

Abbkr came to the UK from Sudan in 2017 seeking asylum, and was granted leave to remain in 2019.

He denied two counts of attempted murder and two alternative counts of a administering a destructive thing to endanger life.

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