Robber given life sentence after stabbing two police officers in central London
Both officers experienced enduring pain and extensive changes to their lives after the incident, the court heard.
A robber has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years after stabbing two officers in London’s West End following a police pursuit.
Mohamed Rahman, 25, knifed police constable Joseph Gerrard in the neck and chest – “targeting where the Met (stab) vest did not provide protection” – before stabbing Pc Alannah Mulhall in the arm early on September 16 last year while intoxicated.
On Friday the Met released video footage of the attack, alongside an interview in which Pc Gerrard said: “We came across a male brandishing a knife towards our colleagues. Initially we were shouting at the suspect telling him to put the knife down, my colleague Dave put a Taser on him, I tried to hit him with a baton but he then stabbed me in the arm.
“Would I consider myself brave? No not really, officers deal with stuff like this every day in London, almost daily, the potential is always there for this situation to happen.”
Pc Alannah added that she thought Pc Gerrard would die in the attack.
She said: “The man was holding a knife like a dagger and I remember thinking he was going to kill him (Pc Gerrard), so I’ve gone over and batoned him in the back.
“As I have I tried to run to create space and I wasn’t quick enough and he drove the knife into my arm.
“Things like this happen all the time.”
The officers, who were attached to the Met’s Central West Command Unit responsible for policing Westminster, have both told how they experienced enduring pain and extensive changes to their lives after the incident.
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.
He was also 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.
He 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.”
He added: “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”.
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.”
“After the incident I cried for 96 days in a row,” she said.
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”.
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.
He said 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.
Rahman also 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.”