Mohammed Abbkr: Man guilty of setting fire to worshippers in mosque attacks

Mohammed Abbkr: Man guilty of setting fire to worshippers in mosque attacks

A man has been found guilty of attempting to murder two elderly worshippers by setting them on fire after they left mosques in London and Birmingham.

Mohammed Abbkr, 29, doused his two victims with petrol and attempted to set them alight in two separate attacks a month apart.

A jury previously heard how he attacked Hashi Odowa, 82, outside West Ealing Islamic Centre in London on February 27 and Mohammed Rayaz, 70, as he left Dudley Road Mosque in Summerfield on March 20.

Abbkr, who came to the UK from Sudan in 2017 seeking asylum and was granted leave to remain two years later, had denied two counts of attempted murder and two alternative counts of maliciously administering a destructive thing to endanger life.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that Mr Odowa had suffered minor burn injuries to his ear and hand after being set on fire as he made his way to a neighbour’s car outside West Ealing Islamic Centre.

Abbkr sprayed Mr Odowa with petrol before striking a lighter and holding it to his neck, the court heard.

In the second attack, jurors were told how Abbkr attended evening prayers at Dudley Road Mosque and sat near to Mr Rayaz.

When prayers had concluded, Abbkr waited for Mr Rayaz to pass by and followed him at a distance of just a few metres for more than five minutes.

He then took the same clear plastic bottle from a rucksack, approached Mr Rayaz in Shenstone Road, placed a hand on Mr Rayaz’s shoulder and asked him if he spoke Arabic.

Abbkr then sprayed Mr Rayaz with petrol and attempted to set him on fire, the court heard.

The court was told that, as the initial flare of the fire began to diminish, the defendant threw more petrol from his bottle on to the flames and they “grew in size and intensity once again”.

Jurors convicted Mohammed Abbkr on Monday by majority 11-1 verdicts after deliberating for more than seven hours over two days.

The Recorder of Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman KC, told the court after the verdicts that he wanted to hear further psychiatric evidence before considering a proposal to sentence Abbkr to a hospital order.

Abbkr was remanded in custody until a sentencing hearing on November 17.