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Nicholas de la Poer KC in ‘attempted murders by fire’ case sentence


On 17 April 2024 Mohammed Abbkr was sentenced to an hospital order with restrictions pursuant to sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Mr Abbkr was convicted last year of setting fire to two elderly Muslims as they travelled home from their worship. In each case Mr Abbkr sprayed the victim’s head with petrol before setting them on fire. Fortunately, both men survived, albeit with substantial physical and psychological injury. Nick prosecuted the trial on behalf of the CPS’s Counter Terrorism Division.

The issues in the trial included whether the defendant had the defence of insanity available to him and whether he believed the two men were humans. Rejecting his defence and finding that they were sure that the defendant did regard both his victims as human beings the jury convicted him of two counts of attempted murder.

Sentencing the defendant, the Recorder of Birmingham found that the defendant would not have committed these offences had he not been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and held that the defendant’s ‘retained responsibility’ was low. He passed the sentence he did with the protection of the public at the forefront of his mind.

A full transcript of the judge’s sentencing remarks can be found here:

The case attracted widespread media reporting, with the sentencing hearing being filmed by Sky:


Nicholas de la Poer KC

Call 2003 | Silk 2020

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