St Stephen's Security Guard Saves Hostage From Beheading

From Hull-Daily-Mail:
A security guard has described how he disarmed a knifeman who said he was going to behead a man at a Hull mosque.

Haidar Hamid, 22, "frog-marched" a neighbour to Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre while holding a serrated knife to his throat and a Stanley knife in his other hand.

With his victim bleeding from cuts to his cheek and chin, Hamid forced his head down in the mosque and asked: "Are you going to pray now?"

But he was spared further injury in a dramatic rescue by worshipper Ebrima Touray, 45, who put himself in harm's way to disarm Hamid.

Recalling the incident, Mr Touray, a security guard at St Stephen's shopping centre, told the Mail: "I was at the mosque praying when I saw this guy walk in with his shoes on.

"Shoes are not allowed to be worn in any mosque and one of my friends kept telling him, 'No shoes, no shoes'.

"When I looked back he hadn't left but instead closed the door and that's when I saw the knife in his hand.

"I saw the guy with him had a slice on his face, so I asked him, 'Who did that to you? Did he do this to you?'

"He nodded, so I told [Hamid] to put the knife away. At that point he said, 'This is my knife', and put it in his pocket.

"My friend at the mosque was speaking Arabic to [Hamid] so I told him to keep his concentration and keep talking to him. That's when I managed to grab the knife off him.

"He ran off so I called the police, and I saw a guy pull up in a car shouting his name, and I told him he wasn't taking him anywhere.

"He said he was from his hostel, but I wasn't having that. He hadn't protected him when he left with this guy with a knife, so I wasn't going to let him protect him now."

Asked by police why he had the knife, Hamid said "to cut off his head".

Hamid, of Albany Street, west Hull, has now been jailed for life, with a minimum term of five years after a judge ruled he was dangerous and presented a significant risk to the public.

Judge Peter Kelson QC commended Mr Touray and fellow worshipper, Taha Mohammed, for their "extremely remarkable courage".

Mr Mohammed comforted the victim until police arrived, arrested Hamid and recovered the knives from the mosque in Berkeley Street, west Hull.

Mr Touray believes his 14 years' experience as a security guard helped him talk Hamid out of further harming the victim.

"I knew I had to help when I saw what was happening," he said.

"If I didn't he could have easily gone out and hurt someone in the street.

"My job helped me in the situation, because I knew what to do. I don't think I would have gone as near him if not.

"But I think everyone needs to help out in some little bit when these things happen.

"I have been visiting this mosque for years and this is the first time anything like this has happened.

"This is a community we all have to live in."

Hamid and his victim were followed to the mosque from Albany Street by another neighbour, who believed the man was in "grave danger"

When Hamid was interviewed by police the day after the incident on September 9, last year, he said he was going to kill the man with one of the knives, and asked why, said: "To stop him doing bad things to me."

He admitted kidnap, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and threatening with an offensive weapon.

Imam Hafiz Salik said: "We have never had anything like it and we have been there for more than 30 years."

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