PC Stuart Outten tells court of dramatic fight to 'save life' during machete attack

Katy Clifton

A police officer who was stabbed in the head with a 2ft rusty machete has given a dramatic account of how he fought to "stay alive" during the east London attack.

Muhammad Rodwan, 56, is accused of stabbing PC Stuart Outten repeatedly after a routine traffic stop in Leyton in August last year.

Rodwan has denied attempted murder, wounding with intent and possession of a machete.

On Thursday, the Old Bailey heard PC Outten, 29, texted his girlfriend, also a police officer, just hours before the attack to say: "Right, I'm off to cause trouble. Stay safe and I will chat when I can."

Defence barrister Michael Turner QC said: “I’m sure you will say it is an ironic comment in a sense after what happened that night.”

As PC Outten gave evidence on Thursday, he told jurors he had been on a night shift on the lookout for traffic offences when he noticed Rodwan's van, which he suspected had no insurance.

He told the court Rodwan appeared "extremely angry" at being stopped by police and had initially tried to flee.

Court artist sketch of Muhammad Rodwan, 56 (PA)

When PC Outten confronted the suspect, Rodwan tried to close his van door but was blocked by the officer's leg, jurors heard.

PC Outten said: “Once the door bounced off my leg the gentleman’s attention turned to me as the object blocking.

“I tried to say ‘you’re not leaving’ and then the defendant punched me twice to the face," he said.

“While I was cautioning the male he was intending to climb in the back of the van so I grabbed him by the belt with my left hand and dreadlocks with my right hand. My radio fell to the floor.

“As I was pulling him by his hair and by his belt the dreadlocks in my hand have come away from his head.”

PC Outten said he then grabbed the suspect’s neck to incapacitate him, saying there was “no space” to use his baton.

Rodwan made a “rasping” noise and lunged away, laying flat in the van, the court heard.

PC Stuart Outten (PA)

The officer told jurors: “I then started feeling something sharp being snapped against my head.

“Initially I did not see. I was aware something was hitting me on the head but I was still focusing on getting the suspect and removing him from the van.”

He said he received “four to five – maybe more” hard blows to the head.

“Once I realised that my head was getting wet I focused on the object it was that I was being hit with. It was a rusty 2ft-long machete.

“As soon as I saw and realised it was a blade I called out to my colleague it was a knife or machete and I immediately backed away.”

Rodwan got out of the van and came at him with the machete, PC Outten claimed, syaying: “He tried to kill me with it.

“I believe I gave a quick command of ‘police with Taser’. I fired the Taser. He was running towards me swinging the machete.

“While I fired the first shot I then stumbled and started falling backwards.

“(The defendant) was still closing in on me swinging the machete.

“I was focusing on aiming the Taser at the body and firing again. I was on the floor almost on my back.”

Asked why he fired again, the officer said: “To stop myself being attacked with a machete and save my own life.”

He added: “As soon as the trigger was pulled again I could see the barbs impact the defendant and his body almost fell next to me.

“I rolled over on my knees and tried to move the machete away from him.”

The court heard PC Outten was taken to the Royal London Hospital bleeding heavily.

He suffered six wounds to the head, skull fractures and injuries to his arm and broken fingers.

PC Outten said he did not notice injuries to his hands, saying: “During the incident I could only feel my head. I was concentrating on firing the Taser, staying alive.”

Rodwan, from Luton, has claimed he acted in self defence and has denied attempted murder, wounding with intent and possession of a machete.

The trial continues. ​