A man addicted to the herbal stimulant khat has been jailed for 26 years for murdering his former friend by ‘partially decapitating’ him.
On August 21 last year, Ayanle Adan purchased two knives from Sainsbury’s and launched a surprise attack on his ex-friend Hanad Osman outside the Waaberi Business Centre in Streatham, South London.
Mr Osman, who was looking at his phone when the attack began, suffered an eight inch gash as the 26-year-old plunged the knives into each side of his neck. Adan then used a “double slashing motion” with a knife in each hand to cause partial decapitation. The 24-year-old subsequently bled to death in front of customers at the convenience store.
Adan, who has 18 previous convictions for 26 offences - including assault and vehicle theft – was found guilty of murdering Mr Osman but argued that he had only intended to “scare” him after being threatened with a knife.
Judge Brian Barker QC said: “The real background of this killing may never emerge. For reasons beyond the understanding of the court you initiated a surprise attack when you were in no danger.”
He added: “This was a planned killing. It was done in front of others and was totally unacceptable. It was a waste of a young life and no doubt his family have been severely affected by his death.”
Judge Barker went on to say: “On any view you have been leading a life of crime. This behaviour in public displays a complete disregard of human life and outrages and horrifies the community who have come to hear about it.”
Adan admitted to being addicted to the herbal stimulant khat and to regularly chewing the legal drug with other young men at the Waaberi Business Centre. He reportedly claimed that a combination of the drug and a hangover had left him feeling paranoid on the day of the murder.
Adan claimed that, after Mr Osman threatened to stab him, he had decided to “show him” that he was equally capable of swinging a knife around, but chose to do so with two knives. He went on to claim that he had simply misjudged the knife swings and had not intended to injure M Osman in any way.
Adan, of no fixed address, will now serve a minimum of 26 years for the murder.
What is khat?
Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and Yemen that gives users a mild amphetamine-like high when chewed for long periods. Users are said to feel chatty and euphoric while taking the drug, but studies suggest that long-term use can cause psychosis and lead to violent behaviour.
Many European countries, including the famously liberal Netherlands, have banned khat but it remains legal in Britain. Khat can be purchased in numerous outlets throughout the UK, but it is particularly relevant among East African communities in London.