A paranoid schizophrenic who killed his friend after breaking into his house and pursuing him with two knives will serve at least six years’ prison for the “truly horrific attack”.
Sentencing Ahmed Noor at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, Madam Justice McBride said the fatal stabbing on the city’s Botanic Avenue last January was brutal, unprovoked and sustained.
After attacking his friend Mohsin Bhatti – a 29-year-old asylum seeker originally from Pakistan, Noor told police he had “killed the king” and also claimed to be “Allah’s assassin.
The defendant denied murder and possessing two offensive weapons, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Madam Justice McBride described Mr Bhatti as vulnerable and said he was a “quiet, gentle, hospitable and friendly man who got on well with others”.
Mr Bhatti called 999 from his mobile phone at 5am on January 29 last year and asked for police before screaming.
He was stabbed multiple times and suffered injuries including a wound to the chest that penetrated his heart, six knife wounds to his back and five to his neck – one of which went through his jugular vein.
The court heard that Noor had been smoking cannabis for several hours on the day of the attack, and that voices his head had told him to attack his friend.
The defendant then armed himself with two kitchen knives, before breaking into the victim’s house by smashing a window with a fire extinguisher.
Once inside, the two men struggled, before Mr Bhatti fled, chased by Noor, who is originally from Somalia but was living in Agincourt Avenue at the time.
After the fatal attack, he told police it was “the happiest day of his life” and said that he was going to rule the world.
Madam Justice McBridge said the frenzied attack had a massive impact on Mr Bhatti’s mother and father, who still live in Pakistan, and his sister, who lives in England.
She added that the killing had resulted in profound anguish and trauma for the victim’s relatives, speaking of the “far-reaching consequences for the family of this unprovoked and brutal killing of their vulnerable son and brother”.
Madam Justice McBride said that while she accepted that Noor was psychologically unwell at the time of the killing, he was also intoxicated through his cannabis use.
Telling the court that she deemed the defendant to pose a risk to the general public, the judge stressed that Noor’s prolific drug use had aggravated his underlying problems.
Madam Justice McBride also spoke of Noor’s lack of insight into the crime he had committed, his failure to comply with treatment programmes offered to him and his expressions of joy in the aftermath of the brutal killing of Mr Bhatti.
She additionally branded the killing a “truly horrific, unprovoked, violent and sustained attack.”
Noor was handed an indeterminate custodial sentence and was told that he would have to serve a minimum of six years’ detention before being considered eligible for release.