Ali Al Har: Abdirahman Abdullahi jailed for 12 years over fatal robbery in Tufnell Park and drug dealing
PUBLISHED: 13:08 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 26 April 2019
A man who carried out a fatal “zombie knife” drugs robbery in Tufnell Park has been jailed for 12 years.
Abdirahman Abdullahi, 25, of Brecknock Road, was jailed for nine years and eight months for the attack on Ali Al Har, and will spend at least six years and eight months in prison. He was also locked up for three years after twice selling an undercover cop “exceptionally high quality” cocaine in Camden the month before.
The Old Bailey heard Abdullahi robbed his “friend” Ali Al Har, for a “kilo” of cannabis at the point of a “fearsome” 30cm knife on September 18.
The victim died after chasing Abdullahi and allegedly “tussling” with him over the drugs, at which point he sustained two knife wounds to the leg, one severing his femoral artery.
The defendant was originally charged with murdering Mr Al Har — and he admitted stabbing him during his trial — but a jury acquitted him of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter on February 14.
An impact statement from the victim's father, Abdullah, was read out in court, stating: “We have lost our son, our best friend, our world.
“I remember when Ali was first born; we were so happy. I still can't believe he has passed away — he was so loving, so intelligent.
“We can't express how much we miss him. Time has gone so fast: I still remember his first day at school, his first test. I remember how happy he was when he got into college.
“There is nothing as painful an experience as losing Ali — I wouldn't wish the pain we are feeling on my worst enemy.”
In her sentencing remarks, judge Wendy Joseph said: “He made the decision to rob Mr Al Har, and set about building trust in pursuit of this plan.
“Mr Al Har began to view Mr Abdullahi as a friend and had no idea his friend was waiting for an opportunity to rob him. On September 18 that opportunity came.
“Mr Abdullahi had been encouraging Ali to supply a kilo of cannabis. In preparation Mr Abdullahi contacted a friend and obtained the biggest, most frightening knife he could — a killer zombie knife with a fearsome blade some 30cm long.”
Abdullahi called the victim to his St Mungo's hostel home and then they left.
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“He drew the knife with the intention of frightening Mr Al Har,” the judge said. “And no doubt he was frightened, but when Mr Abdullahi ran with the drugs and knife Mr Al Har ran after him, begging (his) friend to return the property.
“In the course of what happened thereafter Mr Abdullahi stabbed Mr Al Har to death. He was tried for murder and the alternative of manslaughter in this court but was acquitted of both charges.”
She said the victim would “never have died if the defendant didn't take a knife out that day” — but said she needed to bare in mind the jury found him innocent of the two greater charges.
The defendant has “already accrued an unenviable list of convictions,” said Ms Joseph.
These stretched back to 2013, showing he's been in and out of young offender institutes and prison for offences ranging from cannabis possession and common assault, to being found with 28 wraps of heroine and 25 wraps of cocaine.
He was also found guilty of GBH and theft in 2017, after he and three others punched a man to the ground.
Judge Joseph rejected the defence argument claiming Abdullahi was below the threshold of endangering the public, saying he evidently posed a threat to people.
During trial Abdullahi said he befriended the victim, agreeing to sell his drugs for commission with a view to gaining his trust and later robbing him.
He said Mr Al Har seemed “inexperienced” and eager to talk about his exploits to be a seasoned dealer. But, while the judge admitted he had effectively “groomed” Mr Al Har, she was unsure whether this made the victim vulnerable.
Defence lawyer Mr Mendell argued his client was “naive” and became involved in crime owing to his addiction to alcohol and cannabis — and the environment he grew up in.
He said Abdullahi's remorse had been noted early on by a probation officer, and again by the jury as he wept, allegedly for Mr Al Har's family rather than himself, during the trial. Abdullahi did not cry in court when family impact statements were read out today.
Mr Mendell yesterday gave judge Joseph a letter from Abdullahi reiterating his lack of intent to seriously harm Mr Al Har, his sorrow he died — and desire to turn his life around.
Judge Joseph said Abdullahi had made similar promises before, but Mr Mendell said he believed trauma of killing someone had changed his defendant, and that this was a turning point.
On the occasions Abdullahi sold an undercover officer high quality cocaine, first in Camden Lock and then at a nearby park, he argued the defendant was a “foot soldier” and the most “exposed” in the drug chain.
Mr Mendell said: “My submission is that we have a pattern of offending which does not show a propensity for serious violence: it shows an immature young man who drank too much. He will come out [of prison] an older and wiser young man.”
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