Amine Laouar: 38-year term for student behind ‘random’ stabbing spree murder

·4-min read
Amine Laouar (PA)
Amine Laouar (PA)

A student has been jailed for at least 38 years for killing one man and injuring two others in a spree of “inexplicable” random knife attacks.

Amine Laouar, 21, who did not know any of his victims, murdered delivery driver Leon Street in Neasden, north London, minutes after he stabbed 47-year-old Mirvais Khan.

Six days later he attacked Mitul Karaniya, 32, at the same location.

Mr Street, 48, managed to get to his home on Neasden Road North but paramedics could not save him last January.

Sentencing, Judge Martin Picton said the academically successful defendant’s crimes were “as inexplicable as they were terrible” and had caused irreversible suffering.

He told Laouar: “Your attack on Mr Street was brutal and remorseless. The dashcam footage that emerged part-way through this trial leaves no doubt as to your murderous intent.

“Even a passing motorist sounding their horn could not distract you from the act of repeatedly stabbing your victim.”

The Old Bailey heard Laouar set upon Mr Street, who had left home to go to the shops at about 9.30pm.

He stabbed him repeatedly, first as he was standing and then after he fell to the ground.

Mr Street, who had a partner and children, suffered five stab wounds to his chest, as well as injuries to his hands and one leg but still managed to get home.

Delivery driver Leon Street was stabbed to death in Neasden, north-west London (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA)
Delivery driver Leon Street was stabbed to death in Neasden, north-west London (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA)

Emergency services were alerted and paramedics tried to save his life, but he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Mr Street had previously survived a heart attack and worked as a delivery driver until his van was stolen two-and-a-half weeks before his murder.

Minutes before the attack on Mr Street, and just 150 metres away, Mr Khan was targeted as he walked along Neasden Lane North on his way to do some shopping, jurors heard.

The defendant ran up behind him and stabbed him once in the back, penetrating his lung.

Mr Khan was “very fortunate” to have survived, jurors were told.

The third stabbing was carried out six days later, on the morning of Sunday January 17 last year.

Mr Karaniya had gone out to buy breakfast and was passing the exact spot where Mr Khan was attacked.

He was also caught unawares, with his attacker running up and stabbing him in the back, the court heard.

Mr Karaniya suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs and was “very lucky” to survive, the court was told.

Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones QC had told the court: “In each case, the victim appears to have been chosen completely at random.

“The victims did not know each other, and they were not connected to each other in any way.

“The only thing they appear to have had in common is that they happened to be walking along the same stretch of Neasden Lane North at the time when they were attacked.

“None of them knew their attacker. None of them had done anything which might explain what happened to them.”

Laouar, who lived in nearby Press Road, was identified as the attacker by DNA evidence.

Two knives were found at the scene of the first two stabbings, each with a victim’s DNA on the blade, it was claimed.

Forensics on the handles pointed to the defendant, jurors were told.

The knife used in the attack on Mr Karaniya was found in the wardrobe of the defendant’s bedroom.

A black jacket was also recovered from the wardrobe.

Blood on the right sleeve was matched to Mr Karaniya and Mr Street’s DNA was found on the inside.

Mr Emlyn Jones added that CCTV did not clearly identify the perpetrator of the two non-fatal attacks and there was no footage of the killing.

Laouar denied murdering Mr Street, wounding Mr Khan with intent and the attempted murder of Mr Karaniya.

Giving evidence, he claimed he had been framed by the real killer and the prosecution had the wrong man.

The jury deliberated for an hour and 15 minutes to reject his version of events and find him guilty of all the charges.

In a statement read to the court during sentencing, Mr Street’s fiancée Natasha Anodin described him as her “soul mate” as well as “a doting father and a loving brother and son”.

Her statement said: “After so many years together, we got engaged on Christmas Day in 2019 and planned to get married in July 2022, but instead of being at our wedding, I have had to sit through his murder trial.

“The harrowing images of that night are burnt into my mind and I am haunted by them every day.

“I have so many unanswered questions that I realise I will never get answers to, although I know these answers will not bring Leon back.”

His daughter Rian Anderson added: “My dad was always there for me and my brother throughout our childhood. I remember him teaching my brother to ride motorbikes and when he bought me a huge trampoline to help with my gymnastics.

“I also remember the times he would pick us up from school in his van playing loud Abba music to embarrass us. I will cherish those moments forever.

“This has altered our lives in so many ways. The pain of losing him will never be mended and I will continue to miss him every single day.”