A handyman who stabbed a heroic police officer repeatedly in the head with a machete when “in a rage” that his van had been stopped for being uninsured has been jailed for 16 years.
Muhammad Rodwan, 56, swung the rusty weapon at least four times at Pc Stuart Outten when the traffic stop spiralled into violence, leaving the officer with deep wounds to his head and needing emergency hospital treatment.
Pc Outten, 29, who was dubbed “Britain’s bravest police officer” in the wake of the attack, received the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 London Hero Award for his heroics that night.
Today he revealed to the Standard that he proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Pc Lizzie Mathews, in October last year during a holiday to New York, popping the question at the top of the Freedom Tower.
Rodwan was cleared on Thursday of attempted murder but convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Sentencing him to 16 years in prison with an extra three years on licence once released, Mrs Justice Carr rejected Rodwan’s claim of self-defence on Friday and branded him “a significant risk to members of the public”.
“This was a brutal and shocking attack with a machete on a police officer carrying out his duties during what should have been a routine stop of your van”, she said.
The judge said Pc Outten had “no option” but to use force against Rodwan to try to detain him, and the handyman had initiated the violence.
“The situation was entirely of your own making – all you had to do was cease resisting arrest, as you well knew, and then the struggle would have stopped.
“Pc Outten told you in terms to ‘stop fighting, stop resisting’, but you were in a rage – you chose to cause unnecessary violence with the machete.”
She praised Pc Outten for his “presence of mind and fortitude” in managing to stop Rodwan’s attack with his Taser, adding: “I have no doubt he feared for his life.
“Had Pc Outten not managed to disable you, you would have continued your attack.”
Jurors were not told during the trial that Rodwan had seriously injured two other people with a machete in “unprovoked attacks” in 1997, and has also served a prison sentence for rape.
Dramatic footage of the attack, from bodyworn cameras of Pc Outten and his colleague Pc Helen Brooks as well as mobile phone clips taken by eyewitnesses, captured the sound of Rodwan’s blade striking Pc Outten’s head, followed by a desperate cry from the officer of “machete”.
The incident began just after midnight on August 8 last year, when the police officers on a routine patrol pulled over Rodwan’s white van for not having insurance.
The handyman initially tried to ignore the blue lights stop, but then emerged from his van to say: “Are you going to knock me down? What do you want?”.
Rodwan had been smoking cannabis that day and admitted he was angry with police “because I’m always being stopped”. However a search of the police database later found no record of him previously being pulled over by the Met.
Rodwan attempted to flee when told he was suspected of not having insurance, and then kicked Pc Outten in the chest before punching him twice in the face.
As the officer tried to arrest him and subdue him with a throat hold, Rodwan reached into the back of his van to arm himself with the machete, which he said had been used for gardening work.
Rodwan’s dreadlocks were pulled out in the tussle, and he let out high-pitched squeal before launching the machete attack on Pc Outten. After landing the blows, Rodwan was caught on camera rushing from the van at the officer with the weapon held aloft, only to be stopped in his tracks by Pc Outten’s Taser.
The officer said his first attempt to fire the Taser failed and he was saved from further injury by the gun having a second bolt.
“Everything happened so quickly, there was almost no time to allow fear or any other emotion”, he said.
“As soon as I realised I was getting hit on the head with a machete, I knew I had to back away and get space to use my Taser.
“He was approaching me, swinging the machete, as quickly as I was backing off. When I shot him the first time, it didn’t work.
“I was on the ground, pretty much on my back. I thought, ‘Right I’ve got one more shot. If this doesn’t work, I’m dead’. I wouldn’t have the strength in me, with the injuries I had already sustained, to stop him if the second one failed too.”
Rodwan was unrepentant after his arrest, insisting he was the one who had been attacked and told the custody Sergeant: “My life is worth more than his life”.
He told the court he had been living out of his van prior to the attack.
Pc Mathews was among dozens of police officers who rushed to the scene after hearing of the attack, and - revealing his marriage proposal - Pc Outten said: “After everything Lizzie has been through, it’s the least I could do.”
Rodwan, from Luton, denied all the charges. He was convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and acquitted of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
He will serve at least two thirds of the 16-year prison sentence before being considered for release. He will be spend an extra three years on licence once his prison sentence has ended.