Source: The Telegraph
The family of the terror suspect accused of the London Underground knife attack raised concerns to police three weeks ago over his mental health.
Relatives of Muhaydin Mire, 29, had growing fears over his behaviour and asked the Metropolitan Police whether officers needed to intervene, it is understood. Scotland Yard admitted it had been in contact with a family member before Mire allegedly knifed a passenger at Leytonstone Underground station, shouting “this is for Syria”.
The family is understood to have told officers they wanted Mire committed under the Mental Health Act. Mire’s brother Mohamed said: “He was saying odd things, talking nonsense and saying that he was seeing demons.” However, the Met Police claimed in a statement sent to the Telegraph that “there was no mention of radicalisation”.
A statement from the force said: “The police were contacted by a family member approximately three weeks before the incident on Saturday.
“There was no mention of radicalisation; the conversation related entirely to health related issues and the family were therefore correctly referred to health services for help.”
Mire was interviewed by mental health specialists over the weekend and is undergoing ongoing assessments while awaiting a court appearance at the Old Bailey. Mohamed Mire told how his brother came to Britain when he was 12 from Somalia and went to school in Camden, north London.
“He was a good boy and he loved football. As far as I know he loved education, he wanted to be a computer scientist,” he told Channel 4 news. “It didn’t work out for him. He got in with the wrong people.”
He said that his brother developed mental health problems after smoking cannabis. “He was diagnosed by a doctor and treated in 2007 for paranoia and [treated] in hospital for three months.”
Mohamed said that his brother had been working as an uber driver, but in August this year his mental health worsened once again. “He went a bit crazy, he was saying odd things. I explained to the family the situation, we tried to get him help, we tried to call the local authority.
“They could not help him, they said he was not a harm to people and he was not a harm to himself. We tried to tell them – this guy has mental issues, can you at least section him. I talked to the police. “And then I decide to move him out of the country so I called my mum [who lives in Somalia] and she told me to take him out the country to help him out. So I decide to book tickets for him this Sunday.”
The 6ft 3in 29-year-old appeared before magistrates on Monday accused of leaving his victim with a 12cm knife wound after looking at terrorism linked to Syria on his mobile phone. He pounced on his victim from behind before carrying out a ferocious beating and shouting “this is for Syria, my Muslim brothers”, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
Material linked to the Syrian conflict and “terrorist actions around the world” were discovered on his mobile phone, it is alleged. Mire spoke only to confirm his name and address as he appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday to answer a holding charge of attempted murder.
Prosecutor David Cawthorne said the 56-year-old guitarist victim, named only as “Male A”, had been walking through the station at 7pm on Saturday when he was attacked from behind. The court heard Male A was was hit around the head and body before collapsing to the floor, where he was kicked and stamped on by Mire. Witnesses attempted to intervene as Mire brandished a knife, held Male A’s head and began to cut his neck “in what is described by some as a sawing motion”. The victim was left in a pool of blood and required five hours of surgery in hospital.
Police arrived at the Tube station at 7.06pm, where Mire was said to be “stalking around the concourse”, slashing his knife in the direction of at least two other witnesses. One officer “fearing for his safety” deployed his Taser twice before another officer also deployed his weapon before Mr Mire fell to the floor and was disarmed.
The Crown said the offences were being treated as “acts of terrorism” falling within definition of section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000. As the hearing opened, Mire – who wore a grey t-shirt and matching tracksuit bottoms – had his handcuffs taken off under the orders of district judge Quentin Purdy. Mire, of Leytonstone, was remanded in custody to appear again at the Old Bailey on Friday. Male A is understood to be recovering in hospital.
The case came as it emerged Scotland Yard is considered recalling previously trained firearms officers as standby for the growing terror threat. The Met has pledged to double the amount of firearms officers on the street at any one time to react in the event of a marauding attack.
Questions were raised over why armed officers were not deployed to Leytonstone Tube station on Saturday to tackle Mire, who was Tasered by uniform officers. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan, who heads the specialist crime and operations unit, said: “In terms of how we increase the capacity, there are several ways that we can do it. “We may well look at someone who is a current police officer who has been a firearms officer in the past, about whether we can train him or her to become a ARV (armed response vehicle) officer or firearms officer.”
A junior doctor who saved the life of Mire’s alleged victim has told how he went to the man’s aid despite fearing he could be stabbed as well. Matt Smith, 28, was leaving the Tube station when he heard people screaming and saw a man with a slashed throat. He administered first aid to stem the flow of blood before helping the man out of the building. “At any moment I thought the guy with the knife could come up and start attacking us all. We couldn’t see any of what was happening down there,” he said.
David Cameron yesterday thanked the mystery passenger who can be heard on video footage of the incident shouting “you ain’t no Muslim, bruv”, which has become an internet hit. At an event in Staffordshire, the Prime Minister said: “”Some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and sound bites and everything to this subject, but ‘you ain’t no Muslim, bruv’ said it all much better than I could have done. “Thank you, because that will be applauded around the country.”
Meanwhile one of Britain’s most senior legal authorities warned that aspects of the Government’s counter-terrorism approach could indirectly fuelling the radicalisation of young Muslims. Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former top judge who chaired a two year inquiry into religion in Britain, said that the language used was making Muslims feel excluded from society and under suspicion.
Speaking as she formally launched the Commission on Religion and Belief in public life, she said that she is “totally in favour” of anti-terror law but added: “There is a danger that the rhetoric that lies behind counter-terrorism … that it is turning certain groups, particularly the Muslims into feeling ‘other’, feeling that they’re not trusted, feeling that they’re not part of British society. “Now that’s very sad for the vast majority of very decent Muslims who live in this country: they should feel that they belong, not that they don’t belong. “But it also has a real danger of radicalisation.”