Samiualahq Akbari, 32,of Brigstock Road, was found guilty today, Friday, 5 July, following a week-long trial at the Old Bailey.
The jury heard how on the night of 8 January Akbari called his cousin whilst heavily drunk at 20:45hrs and said he wanted to “kill English people”. He then went into three different establishments looking for someone to harm.
After the phone call his concerned cousin travelled to Thornton Heath to check on him. They both went to a fast food shop and while Akbari was inside his cousin contacted police.
When his cousin tried to persuade Akbari to go home, he ran off. Officers met the cousin nearby and search began to trace down Akbari.
Shortly after Akbari entered a kebab shop on London Road and approached two customers asking them were they were from. When they didn’t answer, Akbari walked behind the counter and took a large kitchen knife which he wielded in a customer’s face.
Akbari then left the shop with the knife and entered Plough-On-The-Pond Public House in search of further victims. After asking customers in the pub where they were from he again lunged towards a group with the knife. The group were able to defend themselves so he backed off and left.
Then Akbari went into Tesco and approached a customer, he asked the victim where he was from and when he ascertained he was from the UK he suddenly charged at the victim with the knife. The victim managed to jump backwards and the knife missed him, after a brief struggle, Akbari left the shop still carrying the knife.
Officers arrived at Tesco shortly after and spotted Akbari nearby, he ran off and was detained nearby in a residential garden. He was later charged on 10 January with two counts of affray, possession of an offensive weapon, two counts of threatening another with an offensive weapon and attempted murder and attempted wounding with intent. He pleaded guilty to the affray charges and one count of threatening another with an offensive weapon.
Detective Sergeant Tim Conroy, of South Area CID, lead the investigation. He said: “Whilst there is nothing to suggest an extremist mind set, the actions of Akbari are nevertheless concerning.
“It is clear that he intended to cause serious harm, or worse to members of the public and sought to identify their nationalities in order to target them.
“It is only through the quick reactions of those targeted that thankfully no one was seriously injured. The whole incident was over in less than 10 minutes and the actions of response officers meant that Akbari was located and arrested before he could target anyone else.
“Unsurprisingly those targeted have been left shaken and I hope that today’s conviction will go some way to give a degree of closure to them.”
Akbari was found guilty of attempted murder and threatening another with an offensive weapon. He will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 26, July.