18th Oct, 2019

Chilling threat before frenzied knife attack on mum with young child in arms outside Coventry church

A MAN suffering delusions about a woman and her husband carried out a frenzied knife attack on her as she left a church’s midnight mass with her young son in her arms.

And before Yosief Weldemaryam’s life-threatening attack, his brother had chillingly written to his victim’s mother in Eritrea telling her to expect the coffin of her daughter and grandchild.

Weldemaryam (28) who was said to be of no fixed address, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the attempted murder of Yodit Mogos in the early hours of Sunday April 8 last year.

Mrs Mogos, who is in her 30s, was among a large number of people who had attended a midnight mass at St Margaret’s Church in Walsgrave Road, Coventry, to mark the Christian Orthodox Easter.

As she left the church shortly after 3am, with her three-year-old son in her arms, she was approached by Weldemaryam who immediately launched his vicious attack.

Believing she was about to die, and thinking only of her son’s safety, Mrs Mogos turned away to put the little boy down as Weldemaryam continued stabbing her with a 33cm knife described by some horrified witnesses as a sword.

Eventually Weldemaryam broke off from his attack and ran away as Mrs Mogos lay bleeding on the ground with life-threatening injuries, said prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith.

She was rushed to hospital with severe internal injuries including bleeding to the artery around the stomach, a laceration of her left kidney, a perforated stomach, and a perforation to the vein taking blood back to her heart from her lower body.

Such was the extent of the bleeding that she needed 31 units of blood and plasma during an initial operation, but after being returned to the intensive care unit she developed signs of liver failure.

A liver transplant surgeon from Birmingham was brought in to operate, during which she needed another 30 units of blood and plasma, and it was found part of her liver had died.

Mrs Mogos was in hospital for 44 days, during which she was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham, and as well as severe scarring and the damage to her liver, she has been left with an enlarged heart, said Mr Grieves-Smith.

Later the same day Weldemaryam walked into a police station and admitted what he had done, but was not considered well enough to be interviewed until October.

He said he was unable to recall the incident, but claimed Mrs Mogos had put something negative concerning him on Facebook and that her husband had made remarks at work about his mother which had caused him to change jobs.

In a statement, Mrs Mogos said she lost her job because of the time she was away from work, and her husband missed two months’ work, which has had a financial impact on the family.

But more significantly, her young son has been suffering flashbacks over what happened.

Mrs Mogos told the court: “I don’t hate him, I feel sorry for him. I am a good person, and I see the good in everyone. I have forgiven him in my heart.”

Psychiatrist Dr Sajid Muzaffar said Weldemaryam, who sat in the dock flanked by staff from Reaside psychiatric clinic in Birmingham, where he has been held in a secure unit, has ‘a severe mental health disorder.’

He said Weldemaryam, who followed proceedings with the help of a Tigrinya interpreter, suffers from ‘schizo-effective disorder, depressive type,’ as well as a thought disorder and delusional and paranoid beliefs.

“He reported that he felt under threat and believed he was going to be killed, and that the victim and her husband were leading a plan to kill him, and that there was a computer-led operation that was tracking him,” said Mr Muzaffar.

The court had previously heard from Dr Karim Rajput that the apppropriate sentence would be a hybrid order, involving detention at a secure psychiatric unit for treatment and then prison after treatment.

But Dr Muzaffar argued instead for a hospital order with a restriction under which, when he was fit to be discharged, it would be into the community for greater monitoring of his mental health, but only with the approval of the Secretary of State.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said he wanted time to consider what sentence to pass, and adjourned the case to a date when both barristers and the interpreter are available.

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