Afghan asylum seeker had been deported twice before Regent Street hammer rampage

·3-min read
Morteza Ahmadi was given 18 years' imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm
Morteza Ahmadi was given 18 years' imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm

An Afghan asylum seeker was deported twice before attacking three women with a hammer on Regent’s Street, a court has heard.

Morteza Ahmadi was jailed for 18 years after targeting women at random as he made his way down the busy London shopping street before walking into a pub and ordering a pint.

Two of his three victims suffered fractured skulls during the unprovoked attacks, with one needing plastic surgery to cover a deep scar.

The rampage began when the 39-year-old, who was deported from the UK in 2013 and again in 2020, groped a woman’s bottom outside Hamleys toy shop at around 10.40pm on October 1 last year.

He then pulled a hammer out of his rucksack and proceeded to strike her over the head before making his way towards Piccadilly Circus.

Ahmadi walked 50 yards down the street before striking another woman in the face outside a Levi’s clothing shop.

Next, he visited the Leicester Arms pub where he slapped a woman’s behind before buying a pint and settling down next to a couple, whom he then attacked, forcefully striking the woman over the head with his hammer and hitting the man.

He then calmly walked out the door, discarding the bloodied hammer as he exited the building into the street.

Attacker laughed as police arrested him

People including the pub manager quickly caught up with Ahmadi on nearby Air Street and pinned him down until police arrived. He was laughing when officers arrived and arrested him at around 11pm.

His motivation remains unclear.

During an interview, he told officers he was drunk and homeless and that the police had not helped him.

Edward Cohen, from the CPS, said: “These were violent, premeditated and unprovoked attacks on people just going about their day-to-day life in the middle of London on a busy Saturday night.

“They are lucky to be alive; and will now be left with the mental scars of that night.

“A number of the victims have since reported social anxiety and one victim has even said she now fears standing up for herself in the event she is subjected to a violent reprisal at the hands of a man.”

Ahmadi, of no fixed accommodation, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to two counts of causing grievous bodily harm, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was given 18 years imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, 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.

Mr Cohen said: “Morteza Ahmadi appeared to be targeting women, but quite what possessed him to carry out these senseless hammer attacks is unknown.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our New Plan for Immigration will deliver the most comprehensive reform in decades to fix the broken immigration system and ensure that those with no right to be here are removed.”

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