Man found outside Parliament with a knife detained under mental health laws

Court hears defendant was suicidal when he sparked security lockdown in Westminster

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 19 September 2017 18:30
A man being arrested outside Parliament
A man being arrested outside Parliament

A man who was arrested with a knife outside the Houses of Parliament has been detained under mental health laws after a court heard he was trying to provoke police officers into killing him.

Eniola Mustafa Aminu sparked a large security alert when officers who had noticed him acting suspiciously realised he was carrying a nine-inch knife in Westminster on 16 June.

Witnesses described panic as he was brought down by police using a Taser and armed officers ran towards the scene, metres from where an Isis-inspired terrorist ran over pedestrians and stabbed a PC Keith Palmer in an attack that killed five people months before.

MPs were held inside the Houses of Parliament and the area was put on lockdown in the wake of the incident, with images showing Aminu being held at gunpoint and handcuffed.

The Metropolitan Police said incident unfolded after officers were sent to question the suspect, who was walking up and down outside Parliament, and saw the handle of a knife protruding from his clothes.

Southwark Crown Court heard an officer was injured in the struggle to detain him but investigators found the incident was not terror-related.

Aminu, of Erindale Terrace in Greenwich, admitted possessing an offensive weapon in a public place at Southwark Crown Court.

Prosecutors said he told a forensic medical examiner he felt suicidal and had wanted police officers to shoot him.

Aminu was sentenced to a hospital detention order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: "Every psychiatrist who has seen you since you committed this offence agrees that you were mentally unwell at the time you committed it and you are still mentally unwell.

"Your mental illness began to show itself last year and resulted in your detention under the mental health act of three to four months this year."

He added: "The court is satisfied that you are suffering from a mental disorder of a nature or degree which makes it appropriate for you to be detained in a hospital for medical treatment.

"I make an order under the Mental Health Act 1983 Section 37 for your detention until you are better, then you can gradually be released back into the community."

Aminu will be treated at the Bracton Centre, a medium secure mental health unit in Kent.

Additional reporting by PA

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