London

Leytonstone Tube attack will 'not change my life', says victim

Leytonstone tube station attack by Mire Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Muhiddin Mire slashed Lyle Zimmerman's throat with a knife

The man whose neck was slashed by an Islamic extremist at an east London Tube station has said he is "determined not to let this change my life".

Lyle Zimmerman, who moved from the US in 2001, was attacked by Muhiddin Mire at Leytonstone station on 5 December.

The medical researcher said he felt "spectacularly lucky" as a doctor was passing-by and thanked a man and woman who kept Mire away.

Mire, 30, was found guilty of attempted murder at the Old Bailey this month.

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Media captionLeytonstone knife attack victim speaks out for the first time

Mr Zimmerman, 57, was on his way to play with a band when he was attacked.

"I remember being struck a few times... being kicked, covering my head up with my arms and then the picture goes blank so I assume he must have kicked me hard enough to knock me out.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Muhiddin Mire was found guilty of attempted murder

"I don't have any recollection of the knife or having my throat cut, the next thing I do remember is about five minutes later being on the stairs back up to the platform being attended to by an off-duty GP who was miraculously passing," he said.

He felt "spectacularly lucky - the knife apparently broke on my neck; there was a doctor wandering by".

As the doctor attended to him, a man and a woman confronted Mire.

"These guys are extraordinarily brave - both the man and the woman who verbally engaged and got him to move away from me and the doctor."

Mr Zimmerman said he was determined that the attack would have a "trivial" effect on him after a doctor in the hospital where he was treated said he had "life-changing injuries".

"I remember cheerily waving my hand from the hospital bed and saying: 'No I don't, I'm determined not to let this change my life'."

Mr Zimmerman said he had decided to speak out in the wake of the latest mass shooting in the US, when a lone gunman killed 49 people in Orlando.

He said Mire would have claimed many victims if gun control in the UK had not been so strict.

"I feel more free from the threat of lethal violence, even though somebody apparently tried to remove my head," he added.

Mire will be sentenced on 27 July.

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