Published: 12:38, 10 January 2019
| Updated: 13:09, 10 January 2019
A judge has commended the men who saved the lives of people injured when a car drove into the side of a nightclub.
Mohammed Abdul of McMillan Street, Deptford, south east London, was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
When judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, handed him his sentence, she took the opportunity to praise those who ran to the victims rescue.
She commended door staff Peter Muro, Greg Perzanowski, Bharat Vara, Liam Vine, Awais Farrukh, Christopher Wildish, Norbert Mizigar and Janusz Fusniak for their actions.
“Some of these men suffered injuries themselves but acted selflessly in trying to stop the defendant and to save lives,” she said.
“Some of them kept him safe from the frightened and angry crowd afterwards.
"In an unexpected crisis, they kept their heads and did their jobs with credit. The court commends them all.”
She told Abdul he had been convicted “on the clearest evidence” of attempting to kill “entirely innocent people” at the nightclub.
“Your motive was selfish and pathetic,” she said. “It was revenge at being thrown out for being drunk. You had preloaded yourself with alcohol and drugs.”
The owner had expected 600 people to see the well-known rapper Giggs and hired a large number of extra staff to provide security.
The judge said bouncers had properly directed Abdul out of the premises after he was drunk on the dance floor.
“As you left, you threatened to return and close the club down,” she said. “You told a man to watch what you would do. One man heard you issue a threat to kill.
“By this time, 400 people had been admitted to Blake’s and you must have known that the club was very busy.
“You boldly told the jury you intended to drive home, despite the amount you had had to drink. You didn’t drive home though. You turned out of the side street and drove towards the club.”
Abdul made several manoeuvres to get into the narrow alleyway that was not much wider than the car. He then “ploughed forward” into the crowded space.
“The CCTV from the alleyway shows how desperately your intended victims fled from the oncoming vehicle,” the judge continued.
“It could have been a scene of carnage. Your inebriated state, together with the bravery of door staff, who pushed a pulled people out of your way, combined to avoid the multiple deaths which were your aim.
“You had been in that area earlier in the evening, so you knew it was there and that there would be many people inside.
“You drove up the ramp to the entrance. You hesitated for nine seconds before driving your car into the crowd. The footage of this part of the offending is simply shocking.
“Unsuspecting young people were thrown aside or swept along by your car.”
Katie Wells was dragged under the car and run over. “She could so easily have been killed,” said the judge. “The serious injuries she suffered included pelvic fractures which could have long-term consequences.”
Photographer Pierre Joseph suffered a broken knee and shin and others were psychologically affected long after their less serious physical injuries had healed.
“Your action had led to panic and distress among dozens of people,” said Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb. “At trial, you lied to the jury and pretended you had only driven your car in the dangerous way shown by the evidence because you had been fleeing an attack by door staff.
“This was a shameful attempt to escape the consequences of your actions. Your intention was to kill at least one person but many lives were deliberately endangered because you targeted a crowded location.
“You caused some degree of injury to eight people and you plainly intended more serious harm than actually resulted. Some of those you targeted were working to keep people safe.
“You used a car as a weapon. You did not engage in a short period of driving but a sustained period when you had many opportunities to stop. You were drunk and under the influence of drugs.”
The judge said the “provisional” sentence she reached was 32 years but took into account Abdul’s age and lack of maturity, which was apparent when giving evidence.
Abdul will serve half the 28-year sentence before being released on licence.