Heavy August 4, 2016 – A 19-year-old Norwegian man of Somali descent has been identified as the suspect accused of killing a woman and wounding five other people in a stabbing attack at London’s Russell Square.
Zakaria Bulhan moved to Britain from Norway in 2002, when he was 5, Norwegian police said in a statement. It is not clear if he was born in Somalia, where his parents are from, or in Norway, but he is a citizen of the Scandinavian country.
A motive for the stabbing attack has not been determined, though police have stressed that mental health issues played a role.
“Our specialist detectives from the murder and terrorism teams have been working hard throughout the night. The investigation is fast paced and making urgent progress,” Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rawley said in a statement. “Whilst the investigation is not yet complete – all of the work that we have done so far, increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues. At this time we believe this was a spontaneous attack and the victims were selected at random.”
BBC 6 February 2017 – Nineteen-year-old Zakaria Bulhan carried out the attack in Russell Square on 3 August last year.
Retired teacher Darlene Horton, 64, was visiting the city with her husband when she was killed.
Bulhan pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding.
The teenager, from Tooting, south-west London, had been charged with murder and attempted murder, but the court accepted his plea.
The court heard he was suffering an “acute” episode of paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attacks.
Mother-of-two Ms Horton was due to return home to Tallahassee the day after the attack.
The knife penetrated her left lung and heart when she was stabbed in the back. She died at the scene.
Lillie Selletin, David Imber, Martin Hoenisch, Bernard Hepplewhite and Yovel Lewronski were all injured in the rampage.
The court heard they have all recovered well from their injuries.
Mr Hoenisch, a retired fireman from Las Vegas, was visiting London with his wife Laurie Kelly when he was injured in the attack.
He said on Facebook it was a “very unreal experience” and he was “still very saddened about the woman who was killed”.
Ms Lewronski, 18, who was stabbed in the upper arm, was visiting London from Tel Aviv.
She wrote on the social media site that she did not know whether to call it “luck or fate” that she escaped death.
The Old Bailey was told Bulhan had been seen “moving in an erratic fashion” in Russell Square.
“Without warning or provocation, the man stabbed six people in relatively quick succession, saying nothing to any of them, moving on after each stabbing towards his next victim,” said prosecutor Mark Heywood QC.
Bulhan screamed and ran away when police ordered him to stand still and drop the knife. He fell to the floor when officers Tasered him.
Police said when Bulhan was interviewed, he refused to take part in an identification parade but said: “It was definitely me.”
Mr Heywood said the case had been considered “at the highest level” before it was decided to accept his pleas.
His defence said he had an “appreciation of the harm he has caused and of the suffering he has inflicted”.