London

Leytonstone knifeman 'suffered delusions' of MI5 pursuit

leytonstone tube station Image copyright Jonathan Brady/PA
Image caption The attacks took place on 5 December

A man accused of trying to murder a passenger at Leytonstone tube station suffered from paranoid delusions that MI5 was pursuing him, the Old Bailey has heard.

Muhiddin Mire, 30, admits attacking Lyle Zimmerman with a knife but denies attempted murder.

The court heard that on 5 December he attacked mandolin-carrying Mr Zimmerman, 56, from behind and kicked him in the head and body.

He then sawed at his neck with a knife.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said it was fortunate that the knife handle had become detached from the blade which made it harder to cut into his neck.

"Although he suffered three jagged wounds to the front of his neck, none of them caused any damage to any of the major blood vessels in that area."

An off-duty junior doctor treated Mr Zimmerman.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler/BBC
Image caption Mr Mire appeared in court in December 2015

According to Mr Rees, Mr Mire also targeted a Polish man, Daniel Bielinski, swinging a knife at him.

He praised Mr Bielinski's bravery for filming the defendant on his phone "at considerable risk to himself" in an effort to stop him from attacking others.

In the footage, Mr Mire is shown lunging towards other Tube passengers.

'Paranoid delusions'

He told the jury that Mr Mire, who was born in Somalia and moved to Britain as a boy, suffered from mental illness and had experienced delusions going back as far as 2006.

He stopped working as a taxi driver and a month before the attack his GP referred him to mental health services as he had again been experiencing paranoid delusions that he was being followed by members of the security services.

He was given an appointment, but did not turn up.

Mr Mire has pleaded guilty to wounding Mr Zimmerman with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and to attempting to wound four other Tube passengers.

He denies attempted murder.

The trial continues.

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