Jury sworn in to try man accused of attacking worshippers in Birmingham and London

Mohammed Abbkr (pictured centre in court artist sketch) has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder Credit: Elizabeth Cook

A jury has been sworn in to try a man accused of trying to murder two elderly men in the street after they left mosques in Birmingham and London.

Mohammed Abbkr is accused of injuring his alleged victims using lit petrol in Ealing, west London, in February and Birmingham in March.

The 29-year-old has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder and two alternative counts of unlawfully and maliciously administering a destructive thing so as to endanger life.

Mohammed Rayaz, 70, suffered severe injuries after he was set on fire as he walked home from Dudley Road Mosque in Birmingham at about 7pm on March 20.

Abbkr was arrested in the Dudley Road area the next day on suspicion of Mr Rayaz’s attempted murder.

He was later arrested on suspicion of attacking 82-year-old Hashi Odowa, who suffered severe burns to his face and arms near an Islamic centre in Ealing on February 27.

Abbkr, originally from Sudan, was assisted by an Arabic interpreter when he appeared in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday.

The Crown’s case against Abbkr, of Gillott Road, Edgbaston, is due to be opened by prosecutor Nicholas de la Poer KC at 10.30am on Thursday.

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