Streatham terrorist Amman ‘retained extremist views’ in prison, inquest told

·3-min read

Homegrown terrorist Sudesh Amman “retained extremist views” on his release from prison, 10 days before he stabbed and injured passers-by during a 62-second rampage that resulted in him being shot dead by police, an inquest heard.

Amman, 20, was automatically released into the community on January 23 2020 having served two-thirds of his 40-month sentence at Belmarsh Prison for obtaining and distributing material used for terrorist purposes.

On February 2, Amman – who was under 24-hour surveillance by covert police officers due to his apparent risk to the public – left his hostel in Streatham, south London, grabbed a 20cm knife from a shop, and stabbed two people. Both survived.

Amman, who was born in Coventry, was said to have been wearing a suicide belt at the time, although this was found to be a hoax.

He was shot dead by police little over a minute after he fled from the shop.

Streatham terror attack
Forensic officers at the scene following the terror attack in Streatham High Road, south London, by Sudesh Amman (Aaron Chown/PA)

In his opening remarks to inquest jurors at the Royal Courts of Justice, the coroner, High Court judge Mr Justice Hilliard, said there was intelligence that Amman “retained extremist views throughout that time and there were concerns about his release into the community”.

After his release, Amman was required to live at a probation hostel in Streatham with conditions such as a tag and curfew.

Amman was under day-time surveillance by plain clothes officers between January 24 and 28 amid concerns he might commit another offence, and on January 29 a decision was made to allow those officers to carry firearms, the inquest heard.

Two days later, Amman was seen looking at knives in a shop and purchasing items that could be used to create a hoax suicide belt, the inquest jury heard, after which it was decided to put Amman under 24-hour surveillance.

The coroner said Amman was seen leaving his hostel on the afternoon he struck, walking towards Streatham High Road at around 1.25pm.

Sudesh Amman inquest
Police officers conducting a finger tip search at the scene following the terror attack in Streatham High Road (Aaron Chown/PA)

The coroner said: “By 1.50pm, he (Amman) was walking very slowly, he had a white bag across his chest.

“He was under surveillance by four officers on foot, and other officers were in vehicles on a surrounding road.

“At 1.57, Mr Amman entered a general shop … which sold, amongst other things, knives.”

He said an anonymous surveillance officer went towards the shop’s entrance, just as Amman grabbed a 20cm kitchen knife from a display and ran with it from the shop.

The officer, known only as BX87, then ran after Amman.

The coroner said Amman then began stabbing members of the public.

Mr Justice Hilliard said: “As he ran and within a few seconds, Amman stabbed a lady in the back outside the White Lion public house.

“A few seconds later while still running, he stabbed a man by Cash Converters, in the right side of his torso.”

The coroner said a second officer, known only as BX75, also joined the pursuit of Amman and shot at him.

The shot shattered a shop window, and Amman turned to face the two officers while still holding the knife, during which both officers then opened fire.

The inquest jury heard Amman suffered wounds in the neck and abdomen, and was pronounced dead at 3.24pm.

The coroner warned inquest jurors that some of the evidence may be graphic in nature.

The inquest is due to last for three weeks.

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