Andrew Ramdeen: Two men shot at random by delivery driver armed with crossbow

·5-min read
Andrew Ramdeen bought a crossbow online (MPS)
Andrew Ramdeen bought a crossbow online (MPS)

A delivery driver caused terror on the streets of west London when he shot and almost killed two men at random with a crossbow, a court heard.

Andrew Ramdeen, 30, drove around Uxbridge in his white van while armed with the high-powered weapon he had bought online for £200, looking for victims to target.

In the first attack, college student Zaigham Ali was just inches away from being struck on the head when Ramdeen’s crossbow bolt sliced him across the ear.

Three weeks later, Ramdeen shot 33-year-old Amir Ayyad at almost point-blank range in the abdomen and left him fighting for his life in hospital.

Ramdeen, a paranoid schizophrenic, admitted both attacks and will now be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital after a sentencing hearing at Isleworth crown court on Friday.

Andrew Ramdeen shot two men at random with a crossbow in Uxbridge (MPS)
Andrew Ramdeen shot two men at random with a crossbow in Uxbridge (MPS)

The court heard how the first attack happened on August 25 2020, when Mr Ali was walking along The Greenway - a short distance from Brunel University – at 10.15pm.

“He felt something hit him and then he heard a bang”, said prosecutor Harry Hewitt. “He looked behind him and saw a white van in the road and then driving off in the opposite direction.”

Another driver stopped and recovered the crossbow bolt, and Mr Ali then “realised his ear was bleeding”, said the prosecutor.

Ramdeen had shot at Mr Ali from inside his van which was 44 metres away, but when he struck again on September 14, he was less than two metres from Mr Ayyad when he fired the crossbow.

“A white van accelerated towards him, drew alongside, he heard a thump and felt something in him”, said Mr Hewitt.

Andrew Ramdeen’s van which was used in the attacks (MPS)
Andrew Ramdeen’s van which was used in the attacks (MPS)

“He looked down to see a crossbow bolt in the left side of his abdomen, he took it out and collapsed to the floor.”

The court heard Mr Ayyad’s life was saved by the swift intervention of passersby and paramedics who happened to be near to the scene of the shooting, in Pield Heath Road in Uxbridge.

He suffered a perforated bowel and had a hole in an artery, losing up to five litres of blood as medics battled to save his life.

“The overwhelming feeling I have is that of gratitude to the nurses of St Mary’s Hospital and paramedics that found me at the scene and made sure I was looked after in the moment I needed the most help”, Mr Ayyad said, in a victim impact statement.

Mr Ali told the court he now fears walking in the area of the shooting, but cannot always avoid it on his way to classes at Uxbridge college.

“Just walking past the actual incident location brings back bad memories, leaving me feeling stressed, anxious, and with the overwhelming feeling of not being safe”, he said. “The whole incident has changed my life completely.”

One of the victims was shot through the ear (MPS)
One of the victims was shot through the ear (MPS)

Ramdeen was identified as the shooter after the attack on Mr Ayyad, when the Met Police found CCTV of the white van which had been leased to him as part of his work for a logistics company.

The Anglo Arms ‘Panther’ Recurve crossbow was found at his Northwood home, along with evidence that he had paid £210 for the weapon and extra bolts. The van number plate was also attached with Velcro so that it could be removed at the time of the shootings.

Ramdeen had bought the weapon on July 18, 2020, a month before the shooting of Mr Ali, from a UK-based retailer. It continues to be available to buy online.

The court heard Ramdeen, who has a previous conviction from 2011 for possessing an offensive weapon, had been hearing voices in his head in the build-up to the shootings.

“He felt if he committed a crime then maybe what he calls voices would disappear”, said Dr Maja Dujic, who is now treating Ramdeen in a secure hospital.

CCTV of Andrew Ramdeen returning to his home (MPS)
CCTV of Andrew Ramdeen returning to his home (MPS)

“His mental disorder played a major role in the decision-making process to commit these offences.”

The court heard Ramdeen, who had been self-medicating with cocaine, cannabis, and alcohol, received inpatient mental health treatment in the past. But when he tried to have himself sectioned in early 2020 when “feeling he was a danger to himself and others”, he was turned away from hospital.

Ramdeen pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Wood said he would have jailed Ramdeen for more than 10 years if he had not decided to impose an indeterminate hospital order.

He said a specialist had assessed Ramdeen as having an “ability to mask symptoms and function at a reasonably high level”, adding that his illness made him “potentially homicidal”.

The judge said the “protection of the public and hopefully successful treatment of your disorders is better met” with a hospital order. If assessed as fit for release from a secure hospital, Ramdeen will remain under the care of doctors.

CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor Loheswaran Amirthananthar said: “I hope these convictions provide the victims with some sense of closure.

“Andrew Ramdeen meticulously planned these crossbow attacks on innocent victims he had never encountered before. He drove around Brunel University carefully choosing his targets. One victim was very nearly fatally injured, and both victims have been significantly impacted long-term.”

Detective Inspector Daniel McInerney said: "It’s no exaggeration to say that in both instances the difference between life and death was but a matter of millimeters.

"If the variation of the bolts had been ever so slightly different, two sets of families would lost a loved one and we’d have been looking at two very different investigations. It’s pure good fortune that the second victim was so close to a hospital. The doctors and nurses saved this man’s life.

“The work of the investigative team to bring Ramdeen to justice was determined and painstaking. No stone was left unturned in the effort to find the person responsible, and the overwhelming evidence we presented left Ramdeen with no choice but to plead guilty to these horrendous attacks.

"I’m also very grateful to the victims for the support they’ve provided us after everything they’ve been through, and to members of the public who came forward to supply us with vital information that led to Ramdeen’s identification and capture.

“Though Randeem’s motive has never been established, the judge has been clear that he is considered a danger to the public and he has been sentenced appropriately.”