‘Terminator’ Tube attacker jailed for random machete attempted murder of Jubilee Line passenger

·6-min read
‘Terminator’ Tube attacker jailed for random machete attempted murder of Jubilee Line passenger

A would-be killer likened to “the Terminator” who caused terror on the Tube with a sustained attempt to murder a fellow passenger has been jailed for life.

Ricky Morgan, 35, used a machete to hack at victim James Porritt, almost severing his finger and leaving him with deep wounds to his wrist and the left side of his head.

The unprovoked attack on the Jubilee Line caused dozens of passengers to stampede into an adjacent carriage, desperate to get away from the knifeman as he shouted “I kill him, I kill him.”

At the Old Bailey on Monday, Morgan was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 16 years by Judge John Hillen.

”Having watched many times the ferocity of your attack, captured on CCTV, James Porritt is very lucky to have survived”, he said.

“I think it’s not too dramatic to say this was every Tube traveller’s nightmare.”

The judge accepted Morgan had been hearing threatening voices, suffering paranoia, and likely has schizophrenia.

Confronting his attacker in court, Mr Porritt stared at Morgan in the dock as he said: “This is not fair, I didn’t deserve this, this should never have happened to me.”

He said the sentence “will never give me back the life you took away from me Ricky Morgan – I hope you realise that.”

 (British Transport Police)
(British Transport Police)

Fighting back tears, Mr Porritt revealed how he now suffers from night terrors, suicidal thoughts, and has been left needing indefinite medical care and daily assistance for basic tasks.

“It has completely impacted and irreversibly changed for the worse and traumatised not only me but also the lives of my loved ones”, he said, describing a “never-ending nightmare”.

“There were times when I wished my attacker, Ricky Morgan, had finished me off”, he added, accusing the attacker of showing no remorse for his actions.

Mr Porritt was on his way to meet his girlfriend and her father when the attack happened, at around 6.30pm on July 9 last year, and had only decided to take the Jubilee Line to avoid delays on his usual Tube route.

Morgan, a complete stranger to him, pulled a machete out of his bag and let out an “unholy scream”, the court heard, before raining down blows on the victim who had been stood next to him.

“He put up a hand to his head to protect himself and his hand was hit as well”, said prosecutor Grace Ong.

“His right hand was in pieces. He could see through to the white of the bone in his fingers, there was blood coming from his head, hands, and elbow.

“At one point, Mr Porritt lifted his leg to protect himself further and this was struck as well.

Victim: James Porritt (PA)
Victim: James Porritt (PA)

During the trial, Mr Porritt said the attack – as the train travelled between Green Park and Bond Street - was like a “horror movie” and likened it to Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film The Terminator.

“I was pleading ‘Please stop, please stop’”, he said. “I genuinely thought he was going to kill me.”

He told the court: “He was just hitting me. It did not make sense. I didn’t understand why this guy was hitting me. There was no confrontation. There was no issue, it was just bang, (he) started hitting me.

“He was emotionless. He did not seem to have any kind of compassion. But it seemed very focused and relentless and he was just hell-bent on doing what he was doing.

“He was like on a mission. He kept hitting my shin and I genuinely thought I was going to die.

“I’ve got nothing left now. I don’t know how I escaped. I was scared I was going to lose my little finger and I held it together.

“I just knew, fight or flight. I just ran for my life. It was like a stampede, people were terrified.”

Mr Porritt said he hoped the trial would provide answers, but he remains mystified as to why he was targeted.

Passengers reported hearing Morgan shouting at Mr Porritt: “I don’t want anyone else, I just want you”, as well as declaring: “This is not a terror attack, I only want him.”

One woman saw her sister’s leg as it was covered in Mr Porritt’s blood, while another passenger described a “look of anger flash across (Morgan’s) face”.

A man on board with an eight-month-old baby said: “Suddenly 30 to 50 people were running down. At the back of the group was James Porritt, blood coming from his head and his leg had been chopped.

Ricky Morgan produced the machete and a lock knife from his rucksack near Green Park (PA) (PA Archive)
Ricky Morgan produced the machete and a lock knife from his rucksack near Green Park (PA) (PA Archive)

“Mr Morgan was walking towards them, he had a machete in his right hand with blood on it, and a knife with a six inch blade. He said they started it, I’m not coming for you, it’s them.”

A doctor on board the train gave first aid to Mr Porritt, as heroic passengers spent around 20 minutes talking to Morgan to try to calm him down. Police then intervened to arrest Morgan.

The knifeman told officers it was “a road issue” not a “terrorist attack”, adding: “If I had known it would cause this much drama I would not have done it.”

He later admitted to a psychiatrist that he had been carrying the machete and a lock knife around in his bag for some time.

The court heard Morgan has a long criminal record including offences of assault, criminal damage, aggravated vehicle taking, possession of drugs, and was first jailed at the age of 14.

In 2011, when a crack cocaine user, Morgan was jailed for six-and-a-half years for firing a shotgun into a stranger’s home in east London.

Morgan wrote a letter which was handed to the court and Mr Porritt today, including a “degree of remorse”, the judge said. Mr Porritt thanked Morgan for penning the letter, but told him it “doesn’t change anything for me”.

Morgan’s barrister, Warwick Aleeson, said he had been hearing voices before the attack and is likely to have been suffering from undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia at the time.

“Ricky Morgan doesn’t wish to be the terrifying, deluded creature living in a room and barricaded from the outside world, believing imagined attackers were going to kill him”, he said.

“He was living a miserable and frightened existance - he wants to be well and contuinue to have the chance of a normal life.”

Newham-born Morgan, of no fixed address, denied attempted murder on the grounds of insanity and also pleaded not guilty to two charges of carrying offensive weapons. He was convicted by a jury following a trial on all three counts.