An Afghan asylum seeker who attacked three women with a hammer after police did not find him a home has been jailed for 18 years.
Morteza Ahmadi, 39, went on a crime spree in London’s West End, on October 1 when he attacked five people, sexually assaulting two of them.
Ahmadi pleaded guilty to two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm with, two counts of sexual assault and having an offensive weapon in February this year.
Morteza Ahmadi, 39, went on a crime spree in London’s West End, on October 1 when he attacked four people, sexually assaulting two of them
Ahmadi groped the first woman outside Hamley’s on Regent Street before hitting her over the head with a hammer.
Following this attack, he continued on Regent Street, stopped outside the Levi’s store and struck Darya Sayganoza on her face.
Making his way off once again, he walked to the Leicester Arms pub on Glasshouse Street and slapped the bottom of a woman standing outside with her friends.
Inside the pub, he bought himself a pint before joining a couple, Nikki Hill and Richard Felton, at a table.
After five minutes, ‘seemingly at random’, Ahmadi hit Ms Hill over the head with a hammer, knocking her to the floor, before then striking Mr Felton three times.
CCTV of the attack inside the Leicester Arms was played in which the courtroom saw Ms Hill be knocked off her stool before her partner gathered her up as Ahmadi walked out the pub.
Ahmadi is said to have been to the UK twice before, having been deported in 2013 and 2020.
CCTV of the attack inside the Leicester Arms was played in which the courtroom saw Nikki Hill be knocked off her stool before her partner gathered her up as Ahmadi walked out the pub
Judge Philip Bartle, QC, said: ‘These offences reflect a series of unprovoked, violent attacks on random pedestrians and pub goers on and around Regent Street on the evening of the 1st of October 2021.
‘All but one of the victims have read out their victim impact statement in court today.
‘What is crystal clear from their statements is the profound effect that the defendant’s actions have had on them.
‘They were out late on a Saturday night in the West End enjoying themselves while the defendant was roaming around with a weapon looking for people to attack with it.’
The judge added that Ahmadi was ‘dangerous’ and would therefore serve an extended sentence.
He was jailed for 18 years and 10 months.
Ahmadi, assisted by a Farsi interpreter, showed no emotion throughout the hearing.
Of the first attack, prosecutor Vincent Scully said: ‘She and her partner…..were walking toward Oxford Circus tube station having been out for dinner.
‘They walked past a man who slapped [the woman’s] buttocks hard.
‘She turned around to confront him at which he stopped, faced her and slowly removed his rucksack.
‘He then struck her on the side of the head with a hammer.’
Mr Scully told the court this first victim suffered a split ear and a fracture at the base of her skull and continues to live with reduced hearing and tinnitus.
In her impact statement she said she chased after Ahmadi to confront him about slapping her bottom.
Ahmadi struck Darya Sayganoza on her face on Regents Street during the attacks
‘He started shuffling, taking a small step back…shifting one way and the other.
‘I didn’t understand at the time why he was behaving like this, why was he shuffling around in little steps.
‘The last thing I remember is watching him unzip his bag very very slowly.
‘I now understand exactly what he was doing. He was taking the time to position himself.
‘He was acutely looking at my face, smiling, shifting around to get himself in the right position to hit me.
‘It was calculated, it was calm, he smiled while he positioned himself.
‘I don’t remember being hit but I remember him smiling.’
She said an ‘uncontrollable fear’ now exists inside her.
‘I am never too far from the feeling of terror in the pit of my stomach.’
Mr Scully said that Ms Sayganoza had been walking down Regent Street while on her phone.
‘She felt what she perceived to be a slap to her face.
‘She initially didn’t think very much of it but then realised she was bleeding.’
Ms Sayganoza went to St Thomas’ Hospital in Southwark, London, to be treated for a cut above her right eyebrow and bruising.
In the witness box, she said: ‘If this guy had hit me in another way…I could have been dead.’
Mr Scully then detailed the incidents at the Leicester Arms pub.
He said Ahmadi slapped the bottom of a woman who had been standing outside.
‘She shouted something like, ‘What the f*** are you doing?’ and he continued walking.’
The prosecutor went on to say that Ahmadi bought a drink inside and sat with couple Ms Hill and Mr Felton.
‘He sat sipping his pint for a few minutes and then reached into his bag, took out the hammer and started hitting Ms Hill with it.
‘One heavy blow landed on her head causing her to fall to the floor and Mr Felton was then hit three times.
‘Members of the public and the manager asked Mr Ahmadi what he was doing.
Ahmadi pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court yesterday
‘And he simply walked off.
‘They followed him, he said they were at risk if they did so…but they detained him in the street awaiting the police.’
The judge called the footage ‘truly shocking’.
Ms Hill suffered a gash to her head and a fracture to her skull and continues to battle with dizzy spells, vertigo, tinnitus and sickness.
She told the court: ‘I don’t think this monster should ever be allowed back on the streets ever again.
‘He is a menace to society, he would absolutely commit this heinous crime again.
‘He is a coward.
‘He hit me in the head with the full intention of killing me.
‘I have two children, 22 and 11, and if he had managed to do that my children would have been left with no mum.
‘With so much importance being placed on violence to women for the last two years…[he had the] full intention of trying to hurt or kill us with no remorse for what he has done.’
Her partner, Mr Felton, stared unblinking at the defendant as he took to the stand, calling him a ‘creature’.
‘I cannot describe the feeling of fear and horror watching a brutal attack like this unfold in front of you and see someone you love be hurt so badly right in front of your eyes.
‘I feel a massive amount of guilt for what happened to Nikki, I should have been able to stop Nikki being hurt and protect her but I didn’t.
‘I do feel less of a man because I was not able to stop Nikki being hurt. How can I ever tell her I can protect her and look after her and her family and expect her to believe me when the first time she needed me I failed to stop her being hurt so terribly?’
He feels ‘angry’ about how his life has been changed by the actions of a ‘cowardly monster’, the court heard.
Mr Felton finished by saying that Ahmadi’s focus was ‘obviously on hurting women’.
Ahmadi was followed as he left the pub and members of the public pinned him down before police arrived.
Ahmadi ‘just laughed’ when he was arrested, the court heard.
In custody he repeatedly spat at police officers and started to masturbate in the presence of a female police inspector.
Deemed a danger to female officers, Ahmadi was interviewed ‘through the wicket’, through his cell.
He told police he was homeless and had sought help from officers that day, but they had failed to provide him any assistance.
Ahmadi said he stole the hammer from a workshop and described it as being ‘a very good hammer’ before, again, laughing, the court heard.
Mr Scully said: ‘He said that he wanted to send some people to Hell with it, ‘I wanted to hit some people and send them to the cemetery.’
‘He laughed and said that he touched so many bums the previous night.
‘He said, ‘I am just blaming the police. I went to them for help. The police were laughing to me and did nothing for me.’
‘Asked if he intended to kill Ms Hill he said, ‘Yes it was my intention to kill two people, I am not joking it was my intention to kill two people.’
‘When Ms Hill’s injuries were explained…Mr Ahamdi said, ‘I feel happy, I am glad.’
‘He was asked if he had any remorse about this incident and said, ‘No I have no remorse. I didn’t have any intention at the beginning but when I had done this I am quite happy that I have done this,’ and laughed again.’
Ahmadi denied being a violent person during the course of the interview.
Mr Scully added that, a while later, a female officer asked him a question and he ‘immediately started masturbating’ again.
The court went on to hear that Ahmadi was born in Afghanistan and that there were reports of him being involved in fights as a child, on one occasion killing a family dog by tying a stone around its neck and throwing it off a cliff.
He is known to have lived in Iran, Turkey, France and the Republic of Ireland.
A psychiatrist concluded that there was no indication of him suffering from a mental illness, but that he may have an antisocial personality disorder.
Michael Mcalinden, defending, conceded that his client was dangerous.
He said: ‘From the beginning he has always said to us that he would plead guilty to any charge that the prosecution and police put against him because he knew that he had to be punished by the courts.
‘He wanted to seek asylum in this country, tried to do it through official channels.
‘On the day in question he went to the police station in west London to ask them for help.
‘He feels that they dismissed him summarily and he says that he just had enough. He had had enough of his life really.
‘The initial intention, as I understand it, was to get himself into some kind of trouble so he would be arrested.
‘He said, contrary to what has been said in court, he is not a monster and he doesn’t have a heart of stone and he has come to understand the damages that he did that night and again he is sorry that innocent people were hurt.
‘He stresses that his quarrel was with the home office, the police and the authorities and at that stage he simply felt crushed by the system.’
Ahmadi, of no fixed address, admitted two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm with, two counts of sexual assault and having an offensive weapon.
He was given 18 years imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm with intent against Ms Hill, 13 of which will be custodial and five an extended licence period.
This will be served consecutive to 10 months for one count of sexual assault.
The total sentence of 18 years and 10 months will be served concurrently to six years and three months for the remaining count of grievous bodily harm, 14 weeks for the second sexual assault, 30 months each for the assaults occasioning actual bodily harm and 10 months for having an offensive weapon.