Man guilty of trying to murder worshippers after setting them on fire near mosques

Credit: West Midlands Police
Mohammed Abbkr (left) was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder. Credit: West Midlands Police

A man has been found guilty of trying to murder two elderly worshippers by setting them alight after they left mosques in Birmingham and London.

Mohammed Abbkr, who came to the UK from Sudan in 2017 seeking asylum and was granted leave to remain two years later, was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder following a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jurors convicted Abbkr by majority 11-1 verdicts of trying to kill Hashi Odowa, 82, and Mohammed Rayaz, 70, in February and March this year.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Abbkr told his first victim: “I swear in the name of Allah, in the name of God, you will know me.”

Burnt clothing from Mohammed Rayaz after the attack by Mohammed Abbkr Credit: West Midlands Police

He tried to murder the two victims using lit petrol in Ealing, west London, on 27 February and Birmingham on 20 March.

Jurors trying Abbkr were told he used a lighter and petrol contained in a water bottle to set fire to 82-year-old Hashi Odowa and Mohammed Rayaz, 70.

CCTV footage of both incidents was shown to the jury and included audio which captured Mr Rayaz’s shouts of pain.

Mr Odowa suffered minor burn injuries to his ear and hand after being set on fire as he made his way to a neighbour’s car outside West Ealing Islamic Centre in west London.

Mr Rayaz suffered serious burn injuries, particularly to his head, in Shenstone Road, Edgbaston, and was treated in hospital for a number of weeks.

A bag recovered from the address of Mohammed Abbkr who has been found guilty of two counts of attempted murder Credit: West Midlands Police

Jurors deliberated for more than seven hours over two days before returning guilty verdicts, having been asked to consider whether Abbkr should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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

The 29-year-old, of Gillott Road, Edgbaston, was assisted in the dock by an Arabic interpreter as he was found guilty.

The Recorder of Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman KC, told the court after the verdicts that he wanted to hear further psychiatric evidence before considering a proposal to sentence Abbkr to a hospital order.

Abbkr was remanded in custody until a sentencing hearing on 17 November.

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