Man armed with knife hunted for Muslims to stab and told police he was a 'martyr for England'

Police say rampage in Camberwell Green 'could have had a very different ending'

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Wednesday 22 November 2017 10:20 GMT
Mickey Sage, 24, pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated offences
Mickey Sage, 24, pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated offences (Metropolitan Police)

A man who armed himself with a 10-inch knife and hunted for Muslims to stab in London has been jailed after claiming he would become a “a martyr for England”.

Police said Mickey Sage, 24, “pulled a knife on people asking them if they were Muslim” in Camberwell Green in the early hours of 7 June.

He was stopped and searched by officers before carrying out his plan but declared his intentions while being taken into custody, making Islamophobic comments.

Sage went to claim that “he would be a martyr for England and stab an imam in the neck”, police said.

Sage, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to threatening a person with a knife in a public place and accepted the incident was religiously aggravated.

A judge at Inner London Crown Court sentenced him to two years and three months in prison.

The court heard that police were called to near Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court by people reporting that a man was threatening people with a knife at 1.45am.

(Home Office)

Minutes later, the alarm was raised at the nearby junction between Camberwell Green and Camberwell Church Street over a man with a knife who was asking people whether they were Muslim.

The Metropolitan Police said several “alarmed and distressed members of the public” were at the scene and directed them to Sage, telling them where he had hidden the knife nearby.

Sage was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and while being taken back to the police station, he told the arresting officer “it was my knife and I was out to kill a Muslim”, Scotland Yard said.

Detective Constable Samuel Cafferty said: “Sage set out with a large knife with the clear intention to find Muslims to stab. Hate crime like this has no place in any society.

“Sage poses a very clear and present danger to members of the public, particularly the Muslim community and I'm pleased that he now has plenty of time to consider his actions.

“Members of public confronted by Sage were not harmed but shaken by their ordeal and managed to get away from what could have been a very different ending.”

Scotland Yard is urging people to tell them about hate crime, which remains largely under-reported, and says it will investigate all allegations fully.

The case comes after reported hate crimes rocketed by almost a third in England and Wales over the past year – a statistic officials said reflected both a “genuine rise around the EU referendum” and better recording by police.

Home Office data shows spikes in racially or religiously-aggravated offences, including a series of attacks on mosques, following the Isis-linked attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge.

A man accused of deliberately mowing down Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park, leaving one man dead on 19 June, is to go on trial in January.

More than a quarter of people referred to the Government’s Channel counter-extremism programme were suspected of right-wing extremism in 2015/2016, with the majority Islamists, and officials expect the number to rise.

National Action became the first far-right group to be banned as a terrorist organisation in the UK last year, followed by its aliases Scottish Dawn and NS131, after it supported the murder of Jo Cox.

Several alleged members have been arrested on suspicion of terror offences, including a man accused of plotting to murder another Labour MP with a machete.

Hate crime can be reported through 999 in an emergency, by dialling 101 in a non-emergency, directly at a police station, through the MOPAC Hate Crime app or through community reporting methods such as Tell MAMA, Galop, or the Community Safety Trust.

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