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Man jailed after claw hammer bus attack

Majid Sami Photo: BPM Media/ West Midlands Police

A homeless man has been jailed after he launched an attack with a claw hammer on a bus filled with passengers.

Majid Sami refused to pay fare on a bus in Digbeth, Birmingham, a week after he had been given a suspended prison sentence for another offence.

41-year-old Sami had been convicted by Birmingham magistrates of using threatening words or behaviour, causing criminal damage and possessing an offensive weapon.

But he was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court because the incident was just a week after the suspended sentence.

Gary Cook, prosecuting, told the court how Sami got onto the bus in Digbeth on December 30 last year and refused to pay the fare.

Because it was a busy time with lots of passengers getting on and off, the driver did not challenge him.

But when the bus slowed down before the next stop, Sami – sitting halfway down the bus – shouted at the driver “Don’t stop!”.

The driver ignored him and stopped to let people on and off.

At this point Sami came to the front and started hitting the perspex screen around the driver’s cab with a claw hammer, shouting, swearing and screaming.

He hit the screen six times, but luckily it withstood the blows.

The driver was stuck in his seat but managed to press the panic button.

The defendant got off the bus and then started hitting the front and the sides of it with the hammer, smashing some windows.

– Prosecuting, Gary Cook

Seven days previously, Sami had been given a suspended prison sentence for harassment and breaching a restraining order taken out by his estranged wife.

Sami’s barrister, Lynette McClement, said her client had jumped on the bus to escape two men who were trying to attack him with a claw hammer and knife.

She said he had managed to grab the hammer off his assailants and boarded the bus “terrified and running on adrenaline and fear”.

Ms McClement said he yelled at the driver not to stop the bus because he was frightened his attackers would board and find him.

She said her client suffered a broken foot and injuries to his head and face, which required hospital treatment, in the attack.

He had no previous convictions before December, but he became completely adrift after his marriage broke down and he lost everything – his job, his house and his friends.

– Barrister, Lynette McClement

The judge, Christopher Tickle, imposed a seven-month jail term on Sami. He said he accepted that the homeless man jumped on the bus, fearing for his life, but had still “created an awful lot of fear” for passengers.