Man tried to kill Muslim woman and 12-year-old girl as ‘revenge’ for terror attacks

Paul Moore said he was ‘doing the country a favour’ after targeting woman wearing headscarf 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 02 March 2018 13:17
Paul Moore convicted for attempted murder for 'revenge' attack on Muslim woman and schoolgirl

A man has been convicted of attempting to murder a Muslim woman and 12-year-old schoolgirl in “revenge” for Islamist terror attacks.

Paul Moore, 21, told relatives he was “doing the country a favour” after ramming his car into the victims in Leicester on 20 September – five days after the Parsons Green Tube bombing.

Zaynab Hussein, who is Somali and wears a headscarf, was walking down Acer Close after dropping her children off at school when Moore hit her with his Volkswagen.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that the driver laughed as he returned to the woman, as she lay wounded on the road, to run her over with all four wheels.

Ms Hussein sustained life-changing injuries after suffering a broken leg and fractures to her pelvis and spine.

Moments later, Moore drove at a 12-year-old schoolgirl who was also of Somali origin and wore a headscarf.

He showed no emotion as a jury on Friday found him guilty of attempted murder, grievous bodily harm with intent and dangerous driving.

Paul Moore launched the attack in Acer Close, Leicester

Mr Justice Soole adjourned sentencing to a later date, with 47-year-old Ms Hussein’s husband, Barre Duale, watching as Moore was taken back to his cell.

In a statement released after the verdict was announced, Mr Duale said Moore “joined the ranks of terrorists” by launching an attack on the UK’s values.

“He was actually attacking Britain, he was attacking a British mother, a British wife, a productive British worker and charity volunteer,” the statement said.

“He wasn’t attacking terrorists, he was joining their ranks by doing what they do and attacking an innocent woman.

“I hope that he thinks long and hard about his actions and is able to understand the error of his ways.”

Mr Duale said the family was heartbroken by the attack, and any sentence Moore receives “will be less than the life sentence that my wife will have to live with” through her injuries.

Prosecutor Jonathan Straw said Moore has a number of previous convictions and was on bail for a charge of causing grievous bodily harm when he was arrested for the attack.

The court previously heard that the defendant launched the attack as revenge for the London 7/7 bombings and the Parsons Green terror attack, which was claimed by Isis.

Prosecutors said Moore targeted Ms Hussein “purely because of the colour of her skin” and perceived Islamic faith.

Parsons Green explosion- police: "We are treating the matter as a terrorist-related incident"

“Carefully and deliberately, in an act of calculated evil, he aligned his wheels so the front and back wheels were over her,” Mr Straw told the jury.

“He did not know her. He tried to kill her purely because of the colour of her skin and because of her perceived Islamic faith as she was wearing a hijab.

“It is no coincidence, we say, that there had been a bomb at Parsons Green Tube station in London, said to have been carried out by sympathisers of Isis.”

Mr Straw said Moore drove at the schoolgirl moments later and clipped her, adding “it is only by the grace of God and nothing more that she was saved”.

Moore, of Letchworth Road in Leicester, admitted that he was behind the wheel but denied the attempted murder and GBH with intent charges.

Four other people were in the car with Moore during the incident and begged him to let them out afterwards.

In a recorded interview played to the court, passenger Reece Bishop said Moore was laughing as he hit Ms Hussein.

“He was just driving like a maniac,” he added. “I thought we were going to be dead. He said, ‘I feel like running someone over. Anyone’.

“It all happened so fast. He turned the steering wheel and he just hit her out of the blue.”

Later the same day Moore went to visit his half-brother, Lewis Welsh, who said he had been drunk at the time of the incident.

Mr Welsh told the court: “He tried to put it down to the London 7/7 bombings. He said he was proud of himself and doing the country a favour.”

Mr Welsh said he did not wish to repeat the language Moore used after the incident as he “did not want to be racist”.

Leicestershire Police said they received reports of the incidents in “quick succession” from 8.30am from members of the public.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Widdowson said Moore fled the Volkswagen in Letchworth Road before getting into a red Ford Fiesta, which he crashed almost immediately into parked cars before being arrested.

Police recorded the attack as a race and religiously motivated hate crime. “These incidents caused understandable concern and anxiety among the local community, particularly as we believe this was an act of hate,” said Mr Widdowson.

“The force takes any incident of hate crime incredibly seriously, and a significant number of resources were involved in the investigation and subsequent conviction of this individual who does not reflect the people who live in our diverse and cohesive communities here in Leicester.”

Tell MAMA, an Islamophobia monitoring group, said it was working with Leicestershire Police on hate crime.

“This conviction will help bring closure to a truly shocking act of anti-Muslim violence where a person desired to kill an innocent woman for nothing more than the colour of her skin and religious identity,” said director Iman Atta OBE.

“The road to recovery will remain but we will continue to offer our support to the family.”

It came as a report warned of the potential of an escalation in “tit-for-tat” violence by Islamists and the far right.

Campaign group Hope Not Hate warned that online hatred was growing, with far-right extremists rallying around the idea of a “war against Islam”.

“We must be prepared for more terrorist plots and use of extreme violence from the far right for the foreseeable future,” said the group’s chief executive Nick Lowles.

Security services have raised the alert over a mounting threat from the far right since the neo-Nazi murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and the Finsbury Park terror attack.

Several terror cases involving suspected neo-Nazis are progressing through courts, including alleged plots to attack Downing Street and murder a Labour MP with a machete.

Last month a Britain First supporter was jailed for trying to mow down the owner of an Indian restaurant after saying he was going to “kill a Muslim”, while a neo-Nazi was convicted of planning to attack a gay pride event, and a Hitler-obsessive was imprisoned for threatening to petrol bomb mosques in revenge for the Manchester attack.

Mark Rowley, the outgoing head of UK counter-terror policing, revealed that four far-right terrorist plots and 10 Islamist plots had been foiled since the Westminster attack in March 2017.

He warned that both sides were “executing a common strategy” by exploiting existing grievances in target communities, generating distrust of state institutions and then “offering warped parallel alternatives”.

A record number of people are being arrested for suspected terror offences in the UK, with the vast majority of suspects Islamists.

The number of white suspects arrested has rocketed, and far-right extremists make up more than a quarter of those going through the Government’s Channel counter-radicalisation programme.

Additional reporting by PA

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