12th Jul, 2020

Coventry men called 'danger to the public' by judge sentenced for knife attack

A DANGEROUS man who took part in an attack in which a knife was plunged deep into the back of the victim may spend up to 16 years behind bars after a judge branded him a danger to the public.

Ishmail Mohammed and Said Omar had both denied a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm – but were convicted after a trial at Warwick Crown Court.

And following an adjournment for reports to be prepared on them, Mohammed, 24, of Coronation Road, Hillfields, Coventry, was handed an extended 16-year prison sentence.

He will have to serve at least two-thirds of that period before the Parole Board will consider his release, and will only be freed before serving the whole sentence if it is considered safe to do so.

Once he is freed, he will be on licence for the rest of the 16 years and for an additional four years, during which he can be recalled to prison if his behaviour gives cause for concern.

Judge Barry Berlin said he was satisfied Mohammed poses an on-going danger after hearing that he had a previous conviction for wounding with intent.

Omar, 27, of Springfield Road, Hillfields, was given a ‘determinate’ sentence of ten years, and will be released on licence after serving five years.

During the trial prosecutor Graeme Simpson told the jury: “We say these two deliberately wounded (their victim) with intent to cause him really serious harm.”

He explained that there was an alternative, less serious charge of unlawful wounding, to which Omar had pleaded guilty, but that ‘the prosecution case rests on count one.’

Mr Simpson said that in the early hours of September 20 last year the victim was in the Hillfields area, where he used to live, but remembers little of what happened to him.

“He remembers being on the main street, known as the Village Square, and being approached by a male who asked what phone he had and whether he wanted to sell it.

“The man then grabbed his phone, and all hell broke out, and he next remembered being on the ground and seeing his hand bleeding badly.”

As his attackers made off, the victim managed to get to his feet and staggered around before collapsing – and people who rushed to his aid realised he had obviously been stabbed.

An ambulance was called and he was rushed to hospital where it was found he had a 10-15cm wound to his back.

It had gone deep into his chest cavity and he also had a deep laceration to his hand, almost severing his thumb, as well as other wounds to his face.

“The wounds had clearly been caused by a knife, and CCTV showed he had been attacked by four men.

“Other CCTV recordings from the area were seized, which allowed the police to track the movements of the attackers, both before and after it had taken place.

“As a result it was apparent two of them had been in a local bookmaker’s, Paddy Power, earlier in the evening.”

And a police appeal led to those two men being identified as Mohammed and Omar, who were then arrested.

When he was questioned Omar made no comment, but a cigarette discarded by one of the attackers at the scene was found to have his DNA on it, while his shoes had traces of the victim’s blood on them, pointed out Mr Simpson.

Mohammed was not arrested until January and also made no comment, but CCTV experts who compared the images of him in the bookies with images of the attackers found ‘moderate support’ for him being one of them.

Those pointers included the Puma jogging bottoms he was wearing in both images, a shoulder bag with a distinctive strap and being seen pushing a bike.

Mr Simpson said Omar admitted taking part in the attack, but denied knowing a knife was used, while Mohammed denied being there, although he accepted he was one of the men in Paddy Power.

Before he was sentenced Mohammed admitted further charges of possessing heroin and crack cocaine when he was arrested in January with intent to supply them – for which he was jailed for three years and nine months concurrent to the extended sentence.

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