Published: 10:59, 10 January 2019
| Updated: 13:34, 10 January 2019
A drink and drug crazed clubber who ploughed his car into a packed nightspot in revenge for being thrown out by bouncers has been jailed for 28 years.
Mohammed Abdul, who had smoked five joints and had drunk 15 vodka and cokes, plus Tequila shots, left eight people injured - two seriously - after speeding onto the dance floor at Blake’s in Gravesend.
He has also been banned from driving for 16 years.
Mohammed Abdul drives his car into Blake's nightclub
The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, 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 of the night spot 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 and pulled people out of your way, combined to avoid the multiple deaths which was 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.
The judge commended door staff Peter Muro, Greg Perzanowski, Bharat Vara, Liam Vine, Awais Farrukh, Christopher Wildish, Norbert Mizigar and Janusz Fusniak.
“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.”
A retrial heard after being ejected from the Queen Street club on March 17 last year, Abdul told door staff: "I am going to shut you down tonight".
Bouncer Peter Muro told police the 21-year-old threatened: “If I can’t come in I’m going to come back and shut this place down and kill you guys.”
Soon afterwards, he started to drive his 4x4 Suzuki Vitara down an alleyway at the side of the club.
A bouncer tried to stop him, but he continued as staff and customers jumped out of the way. He smashed through metal gates at the entrance.
As Abdul approached a marquee being used as part of the club with a dance floor and DJ booth, he stopped for about nine seconds.
Prosecutor Simon Taylor said it was “no doubt to make a final decision about what he was going to do”, before then hurtling onto the dance floor and hitting customers.
Some were struck by the car and thrown onto the bonnet, and then onto the floor. Others were injured in the resulting panic.
A witness described people going down “like dominoes”.
Abdul reversed several metres and was then overpowered by door staff and customers, leaving him injured and unconscious.
Pierre Joseph, a cameraman who was at the club to film grime rapper Giggs, 32, making a guest appearance, suffered a fractured left shinbone.
Clubber Katie Wells, then 18, was left with a fractured pelvis and continues to suffer. She told of hearing “a massive bang” and then being hit by the car’s front passenger side. She was also bruised and had tyre marks on her thighs.
Mr Taylor said the conduct involved Abdul using his car as a weapon by deliberately driving at a large group of people who were trying to enjoy a night out.
"The manner in which the defendant drove was not short in either duration or distance,” he said. “It was a determined and indiscriminate effort to cause death to those people present.
“Mercifully - and no thanks to the defendant - death was not caused, but serious injury was.”
CCTV footage of the incident shown to the jury "spoke volumes that the defendant intended to kill when he drove in the manner he did".
"The intent to kill here is obvious. Why else deliberately drive at speed into a group of defenseless people offering no threat at all? In reality, the defendant could have had no other intention whatsoever."
Abdul, of McMillan Street, Deptford, south east London, denied two charges of attempting to murder people in the vicinity of the club, but was convicted by a jury of 10 men and two women in less than 90 minutes.
He had also denied alternative charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and two of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Joseph and Miss Wells.
He admitted two offences of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
A retrial was ordered in September after a jury failed to reach verdicts after 13 hours and 25 minutes.
Mr Taylor stressed that the incident was not terror-related but motivated by Abdul’s revenge and anger at being thrown out because of his intoxication.
He claimed in evidence he had only planned to cause door staff “a bit of grief” for being ejected without an explanation.
He maintained he was trying to get away from pursuing bouncers when he sped onto the dance floor.
Abdul, who said it was his first time at the club, came to the UK from Nairobi shortly before his first birthday.
He passed eight GCSEs and one A Level. He told the previous trial he planned to go to university. He did office and warehouse work.
Abdul had no previous convictions, but was cautioned for criminal damage and possessing cannabis. He admitted to being a regular user of the drug.