Man blames ‘very strong cannabis’ for calling 999 then attacking police with knife, court told

Alex Traykov, 20, claims drug had a ‘very different’ effect on him the night he allegedly slashed officers with blade

Tom Barnes
Wednesday 10 April 2019 19:47 BST
CCTV of four police officers allegedly attacked with knife in London

A university drop-out accused of attacking a group of police officers with a kitchen knife has told a court “very strong” cannabis was to blame.

Alex Traykov admitted he made a bogus 999 call under the alias “Solomon” to report a fictitious fight in Islington, north London, in October last year.

When police arrived at the scene on the night in question, he accepted he produced a large blade before injuring the officers.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, the 20-year-old told jurors he had not intended to kill them or cause serious harm.

Mr Traykov said he had smoked cannabis, but the drug had a very different effect on him to what he had experienced in the past.

“It was not a normal high I was experiencing,” he told the court. “It was very strong and I lost concentration. I was moving and doing things without actually thinking about it.”

Bulgarian-born Mr Traykov said he called 999 as a prank. “At the time it was amusing to me, but now I can say for certain it was not funny at all,” he added.

The former Winchester University history student told jurors: “I have felt terrible since I came to prison and I have thought about it every day, tried to reason and live with it.

“I thought about the officers, how they were injured, and now I have seen them in court it's 10 times worse for me. I have had problems sleeping and whatnot as well.”

The court has heard how Mr Traykov attacked PC Istarlin Said-Ali, 31, bringing the blade down in her head and cutting her hand as she fended off a second blow.

He then allegedly ran at the other officers, lunging at PC Rafal Zedziora, 34, inflicting a 4cm cut to his face and slashing the back of his neck.

He also wounded 40-year-old PC Ben Thomson’s arm and continued to rain down blows before he was twice Tasered by PC Launa Watkins, 39, the court was told.

The court heard Mr Traykov had been visiting a college friend at the address in Islington at the time of the incident, which was captured on CCTV.

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The defendant had run into minor trouble with police on three previous occasions, including being caught shoplifting and in possession of a cannabis joint, but insisted he held no grudge against them.

He also told the court he had previously suffered from depression and anxiety and dropped out of university to pursue a music career, to his mother’s disappointment.

Mr Traykov, of Redhill, Surrey, denies four charges of attempted murder, and three alternative charges of wounding with intent and one of attempted wounding with intent.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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