Europe

London: knifeman was “devout Muslim”; had no mental problems say neighbor

London-knifeman-was-devout-Muslim-had-no-mental-problems-say-neighbor

Immediately after the attack happened, British authorities said that the attacker had serious mental health issues and no link to terrorism. Now his neighbor has come forward and revealed that he had no mental health issues but a big interest in the Islamic State (ISIS). The British (and U.S.) authorities try to obscure the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists every time there is a jihad attack. They are doing everything they can to keep their people from getting the idea that there is a jihad threat at all. This is a grave disservice to Britons and Americans, and the ignorance and complacency this strategy fosters endanger us all.

As police investigate the murder, it emerged:

19-year-old of Somali origin Zak Bulhan, who came to the UK from Norway in 2002, has been arrested on suspicion of murder after he stabbed six people in Russell Square at around 10.30pm on Wednesday night.

American Darlene Horton, 64, a retired teacher was fatally injured. The others hurt were British, American, Israeli and Australian and all were treated in hospital. Three were discharged. None are critically ill.

Witnesses say killer was slashing ‘anyone he could see’ with his knife before he was Tasered by police.

Britain’s top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley said detectives had considered terrorist motive but now stabbings appear to be ‘triggered by mental health issues’. MI5 and MI6 have no record of killer being an extremist

Scotland Yard has sent out armed units to patrol the streets as London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the public to remain ‘calm and vigilant’.

Counter-terror police will today forensically study computers belonging to the Russell Square knifeman as a neighbour claimed the ‘impressionable’ teenager could have been inspired by ISIS.

Scotland Yard believe Zakaria Bulhan, 19, a Norwegian national of Somali origin who moved to the UK in 2002, was not ‘motivated by terrorism’ but its officers are trawling his possessions for extremist material.

But neighbour Parmjit Singh, a BBC radio DJ known as ‘DJ Precious’ on the Asian network, said he had known ‘impressionable’ Bulhan for seven years, adding: ‘His mental health problems are a scapegoat.’

The 36-year-old said: ‘They said he had mental health issues but that was not the boy I knew.

‘The news of his mental illness is completely new, we never heard that. Honestly, I think his mental health problems are a scapegoat.’

Asked what he thought motivated the attack, Parmjit said: ‘I think peer pressure, hanging around with gangs. He wasn’t working, he was hanging around with Somalian boys and I think they had possible links to serious ISIS people – not directly, but they see all this stuff and are inspired by it.

‘Why would he attack an American woman tourist in a random attack? I think boys have put pressure on him to go there and do something. He was very impressionable growing up’.

Police are guarding the council flat in Tooting he shared with his mother and siblings as they investigate his motives for murdering American Darlene Horton, 64, in front of her husband Dr Rick Wagner.

The retired teacher was stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife and bled to death on the pavement in the frenzied six-minute attack on Wednesday evening that left five others injured.

A police source said: ‘We are expecting counter-terror officers this afternoon who will take away his computers and electrical equipment to study.’

Friends have described their shock at the knife attacks, describing him as a ‘teacher’s pet’ and a ‘devout Muslim’ who would love debating religion.

Online postings show a man named Zak Bulhan is interested in Islamic study, and in another he pledges support to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg.

Rakesh Naidu, 18, said: ‘I can’t believe it, I’m just telling myself it must be a mistake. We used to get really competitive over grades in maths and debate religion all the time.

‘He was a devout Muslim and he would passionately defend it, but he respected my opinion too. He was a bit socially awkward but as far as I knew he didn’t have mental health problems.

‘He wasn’t the jock but he wasn’t the kid who ate glue at the back of the class. He just flew under the radar.’

Today a family friend claimed the teenager had tried to kill himself three times this year before he stabbed to death an American tourist in front of her ‘absolutely devastated’ husband.

Bulhan was arrested on suspicion of murder after dozens of armed police – fearing a terror attack – brought him down with a Taser stun gun.

Mother-of-two Darlene Horton, 64, was stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife and bled to death on the pavement in the frenzied six-minute attack on Wednesday evening that left five others injured.

She had chosen to stay in London for an extra day to enjoy time in the capital because psychology professor Dr Richard Wagner had taught at a UK summer school for several weeks. They were due to fly back six hours after her murder.

Today it has emerged that Bulhan, who was held miles from his south London home clutching a knife, appears to have been depressed and had tried to kill himself three times in the past six months, family friends have said.

One told The Times: ‘He has been very unwell. He wanted to kill himself. I saw his mother with an ambulance outside their flat and she said Zac had called it because he wanted to hurt himself. He’s called the ambulance about two more times because he was feeling unwell. His mother was very afraid’.

His local mental health trust have not commented on his case, but it is understood he was living at home not in care. They are working with detectives

Ambulances were repeatedly called to the council flat he shares with his mother and sister in Tooting because the teenager had wanted to harm himself, it has been said. One neighbour had claimed that his parents’ separation may have upset him and he had become more reclusive in recent years.

Murder victim Ms Horton had been due to fly home to Tallahassee, Florida, yesterday, and a colleague of the couple in Tallahassee, said her heartbroken husband was ‘absolutely devastated.’

The keen tennis player’s last words were ‘he’s still here, he’s still here’ as she tried to warn others of the attacker’s presence before she fell unconscious.

She could not be saved, despite the best efforts of paramedics, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses said her shocked husband sobbed nearby as her body lay sprawled on the pavement overnight.

Dozens of flowers have been left at the spot where she was stabbed including bouquets with an American flag.

John Thrasher, president of Florida State University (FSU), where Dr Wagner teaches, said: ‘There are no words to express our heartache over this terrible tragedy. We are shocked that such senseless violence has touched our own FSU family and we will do all we can to assist Professor Wagner and his loved ones as well as his friends and colleagues in the psychology department as they mourn.’

Friends of the couple and their two grown-up children back home in the US have described a ‘fine family’, who played a big role in the university’s psychology faculty and were highly regarded within their local community for their philanthropy.

Neighbour Jane Marks told the Tallahassee Democrat that Ms Horton was ‘absolutely lovely. Just one of the nicest, sweetest family focused people who is very happy in her space and place.’

The couple are understood to have supported the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation – a non-profit community healthcare organisation – as well as a theatrical group and a humane society.

Mr Wagner had been travelling abroad to teach for several years accompanied by his wife, who began her career in education in the 1980s.

Her former colleague told the newspaper Ms Horton had a ‘vibrant personality’ and ‘loved her students and was eager to do whatever she had to do. She would go beyond the extra mile.’

Janet Kistner, a colleague of Mr Wagner at FSU, said Ms Horton, a keen tennis player, was ‘just a bright, inquisitive person’.

‘We are a faculty that knows everybody as family. It’s very much a loss for all of us,’ she told the newspaper.

Mary Alice Linzy, a friend of Ms Horton for 15 years, described how she saw reports of Wednesday night’s tragedy on Facebook, before her identity was revealed.

‘We’re just a small little town here and we have this small tennis community,’ Ms Linzy told the newspaper. Ms Horton’s tennis partners reportedly met at a local country club as usual on Thursday.

‘I’m just going to miss her so much. She was an inspiration for me,’ Ms Linzy told the newspaper. ‘Every time I step on the tennis court now I’m going to be thinking of Darlene. I just cannot believe it.’

 

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