Holloway Christmas Eve samurai sword attacker caged for life

Ahla Timofei

Ahla Timofei - Credit: Archant

A man who attacked a defenceless woman with a samurai sword on Christmas Eve will spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital.

Ahla Timofei, 26, was found guilty of attempted murder and affray at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday after the terrifying assault in Holloway Road last year.

During the vicious attack in the early hours of December 24, Timofei used the large blade on his victim – a 22-year-old Italian student – chopping off her thumb and cutting her face, legs and arms.

He ran away, but was chased by a member of the public who used his mobile phone to tell police where he was.

Islington officer Sgt Steve Brown rushed to the scene near the junction of Mercers Road, Holloway, and found Timofei brandishing the sword.

The brave cop ducked under the lethal weapon when Timofei swung, forced him to the ground and arrested him.

He was also found carrying a crossbow, more swords, numerous hunting knives and gas masks.

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Summing up, Judge Michael Topolski praised the member of public and singled out the bravery of Sgt Brown for putting himself in danger in the execution of his duties in detaining a clearly dangerous suspect.

Det Con Jose Lagares, from Islington Police, said: “This was a vicious unprovoked stranger attack on a defenceless young woman who was returning home from work and looking forward to the Christmas festivities.

“If it had not been for the bravery and quick thinking of the members of public she could have been killed with Timofei evading arrest.

“The victim had to return back to Italy and continue seeking medical assistance for her injuries.

“She has since returned to the UK to resume her studies and was present at court to hear the jury deliver the guilty charge.

“The victim was happy with the result and that Timofei will receive the treatment that he requires and will not pose a threat to the public.

“Thankfully, this type of incident is rare in London but the public should be reassured that police officers are willing to put themselves in danger to protect the public.”

Timofei, Frampton Street, St John’s Wood, was deemed unfit to attend court, but the judge imposed a hospital order meaning he will spend the rest of his life in a secure mental unit.

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