‘Terminator’ Tube attacker guilty of attempted murder after hacking commuter with machete

‘The scars will remain with me for life,’ says victim who thought he was going to die in unprovoked onslaught

Jane Dalton
Friday 20 May 2022 20:40
<p>CCTV showed Morgan launching the unprovoked attack that caused passengers to flee in terror </p>

CCTV showed Morgan launching the unprovoked attack that caused passengers to flee in terror

A man who attacked a stranger on the London Underground with a machete has been found guilty of attempted murder.

The victim, whose hand was partly severed, described how he thought he would die, saying that being targeted out of the blue was like a “horror movie” and the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film Terminator.

Panicked passengers toppled over each other as they fled when Ricky Morgan launched an unprovoked attack on James Porritt, the Old Bailey heard.

Morgan, 34, who refused to give evidence in court, had told horrified passengers: “This is not a terror attack, I only want him.”

The jury found him guilty after two days of deliberations, and he was also convicted of possessing a machete and a lock knife.

Judge John Hillen adjourned sentencing until 22 July for a psychiatric report to be prepared.

Mr Porritt said after the case: “The events that took place on the Jubilee line train during rush hour have changed my family, my girlfriend’s and my life for ever; as well as every single person who witnessed the attack on the train that evening.

“It’s been a long and traumatic road that I have had to travel. I am still in the process of recovery. Until I reach that destination, it’s a road I continue to walk.

“The scars from this attack on my legs, elbow, arm, face/head and my entire right hand, will remain with me for the rest of my life. My surgeon is unable to determine if I will ever regain the full use of my right, dominant hand.”

After the verdicts, police released graphic CCTV footage showing Morgan shouting and thrashing with the machete inside the carriage as terrified passengers scrambled to get away.

Prosecutor Grace Ong had told jurors that Mr Porritt and Morgan were complete strangers, adding: “This was, the prosecution say, a completely unprovoked attack on a commuter on the Jubilee line going about his daily business.”

On 9 July last year, Mr Porritt, a self-employed businessman, had visited a gym and was going to meet his girlfriend and her father in west London.

James Porritt had to hold his severed finger to his hand

He got on a north-bound train at Westminster before Morgan produced the machete and lock knife from his rucksack.

In a video interview played in court, Mr Porritt described minding his own business and looking at his phone. He heard a scream, and the next thing he knew was the defendant hitting him over the head, the court was told.

He put his hand up to protect himself during the onslaught, the jury heard.

“I was pleading ‘Please stop, please stop’.” Mr Porritt said he saw blood as Morgan smashed an object over his head.

“He was just hitting me. It did not make sense. I didn’t understand why this guy was hitting me. There was no confrontation. There was no issue, it was just bang, (he) started hitting me.

“He was like a machine. It was like that movie Terminator,” he said.

“He was emotionless. He did not seem to have any kind of compassion. But it seemed very focused and relentless and he was just hellbent on doing what he was doing.

“He was like on a mission. He kept hitting my shin and I genuinely thought I was going to die.

“I don’t know how I escaped. I was scared I was going to lose my little finger and I held it together. I just knew fight or flight. I just ran for my life. It was like a stampede – people were terrified.”

Morgan pursued him and lunged the “huge” blade through the window of the connecting carriage door, Mr Porritt said.

Morgan said: “I don’t want anyone else, I just want him,” the court heard.

Mr Porritt described the machete as like something out of Arabian Nights, adding: “It was just like he was a predator and he was hunting, and he decided he was hunting me.”

He said it was “so surreal” to be targeted by a stranger on a rush-hour train. “He just would not stop. He was relentless… He was fixated with me,” Mr Porritt said.

He managed to get through a carriage door, while holding the severed part of his hand together.

People were screaming but they could not hold Morgan off, and Mr Porritt added: “It was just terrifying.”

As well as the severe injury to his right hand, Mr Porritt suffered bone-deep cuts to his head and shin, jurors were told.

Morgan refused to give evidence in court

Witnesses said passengers tried to run away but in the panic ended up piled on the floor.

One said the attacker let out an “unholy scream” as Morgan hit out with the machete.

He was heard to say: “This is not a terrorist attack, I only want him. I don’t want to kill you, I want to kill him, he was trying to kill me.”

Another passenger tried to tell Morgan to “calm down”, the court heard.

A doctor who happened to be on the train gave Mr Porritt first aid.

Morgan, of no fixed address, told police it was “a road issue” not a terrorist attack, adding: “If I had known it would cause this much drama, I would not have done it.”

He told a psychiatrist he had been carrying the machete and lock knife around for some time.

He also had an almost empty bottle of vodka in his rucksack, the court heard.

DS Nick Thompson, of the British Transport Police, said: “This was a brutal and unprovoked attack. The two men had never spoken, never met and had never crossed paths until that day.

“Clearly it was a terrifying situation for the victim, he was able to escape but this attack and the injuries he suffered continue to have a substantial impact on his life.”

He described Morgan as a danger to the public.

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