Man jailed for stabbing Muslim surgeon who treated Manchester attack victims

The knife missed Dr Nasser Kurdy's jugular vein and spinal cord by millimetres 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 30 August 2018 21:23
Dr Nasser Kurdy was attacked from behind
Dr Nasser Kurdy was attacked from behind

A man who stabbed a Muslim surgeon who treated victims of the Manchester terror attack has been jailed.

Ian Rooke attacked Dr Nasser Kurdy as he made his way towards Altrincham Islamic Centre for afternoon prayers in September.

The 29-year-old, of no fixed address, was jailed for five years and four months at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court after pleading guilty to wounding with intent and possession of a weapon.

Police initially treated the stabbing as a potential hate crime but their investigation found there was “no hate element to the attack” in Hale.

Greater Manchester Police said Rooke had stormed out of his brother’s house in nearby Grove Lane following a fight and was “looking for someone to take his anger out on”.

Detective Inspector Chris Potter said Rooke ran up behind Dr Kurdy and stabbed him in the neck with a kitchen knife.

"It is a miracle that Dr Kurdy’s injuries weren’t more serious, he could have easily been left with life-changing injuries or could have even lost his life,” he added.

"The attack quite rightly left the Muslim community in fear and many questions were asked about Rooke’s motive.

"It has since been established that whilst the attack on Dr Kurdy was appalling and completely unprovoked, there was no hate element to the attack. Rooke was willing to take his anger out on the next person who caught his eye, unfortunately for Dr Kurdy, it was him.”

Dr Nasser Kurdy was stabbed on his way to Altrincham Islamic Centre (Google)

The surgeon, who is of Syrian-Jordanian origin, said the local Muslim community had been concerned by the rise in far-right activity in the area amid a nationwide spike in hate crime following Isis-inspired terror attacks.

The 58-year-old victim, who had treated victims of the Manchester Arena bombing months before, told how he was attacked from behind.

“As I entered the grounds of the premises, I felt that pain and the blow to my neck,” Dr Kurdy said, describing how he fled inside the mosque.

The father-of-three, who is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Wythenshawe Hospital, escaped with no life-threatening injuries and was discharged from hospital later the same day.

The blade missed his jugular vein and spinal cord by millimetres but the surgeon was back treating his patients at Wythenshawe Hospital within two days.

Rooke ran from the scene but was arrested shortly afterwards at his brother’s house.

He was initially acquitted of attempted murder before admitting the lesser charge of wounding with intent.

The court heard Rooke suffers a personality disorder and had been drinking and not taken his anti-psychotic medication for two days prior to the assault.

In a victim impact statement, Dr Kurdy told the judge that since his stabbing he had experienced “post-traumatic growth syndrome”.

But he added: “The stabbing has had an unbelievable positive impact on me. I am a much better person for having gone through this ordeal.

"I am a much happier man than before. My outlook on life has changed to the better. I have met many wonderful people and I have new purposes in my life.

"I feel that my forgiveness has touched many people positively.”

Dr Kurdy also said he felt ”sadness and compassion“ for his attacker adding: ”There can only be justice if Ian becomes a better person and I hope I am permitted to be part of his rehabilitation.“

Det Insp Potter commended the surgeon’s “bravery and strength”.

“He has shown incredible empathy towards Rooke that many may think is undeserved, and I take my hat off to him,” he added.

“He is a pillar of the community and has played a huge part reassuring those in fear.

“Rooke isn’t a racially motivated attacker, but he is an attacker none-the-less. He could have killed Dr Kurdy and will now spend the next five years and four months in prison thinking about what he has done.”

Additional reporting by PA

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