Man guilty of attempted murder over ‘Terminator’ machete attack on Tube train

Ricky Morgan launched an unprovoked attack on James Porritt, the Old Bailey heard.

Emily Pennink
Friday 20 May 2022 15:52
Mosaic tiles on the walls of Green Park underground station, London.
Mosaic tiles on the walls of Green Park underground station, London.

A “Terminator” Tube attacker has been found guilty of hacking at a commuter with a machete.

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

Morgan, 34, was heard to tell horrified onlookers: “This is not a terror attack, I only want him.”

Mr Porritt, who suffered a severe injury to his hand, told jurors it was like a “horror movie” and the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film Terminator.

Morgan denied attempted murder on grounds of insanity but was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey after two days of deliberations.

He was also convicted of possessing a machete and a lock knife.

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

Ricky Morgan, 34, who has been found guilty of the Tube attack (BTP/PA)

Mr Porritt beamed and embraced a British Transport Police officer before leaving court.

He said in a statement: “This trial has been another significant part of my healing process, since the attack on the 9th of July 2021.

“The events that took place on the Jubilee line train during rush hour have changed my family, my girlfriend’s and my life forever; 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.

James Porritt was the subject of the unprovoked attack (Family handout/BTP/PA)

“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.”

Following 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.

Detective Sergeant 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.

“BTP firearms officers were soon at the scene, Morgan was subdued and taken into custody. He is evidently a danger to the public and the jury saw fit to ensure he faces consequences equal to the severity of this attack.”

Prosecutor Grace Ong had told jurors that Mr Porritt and Morgan were complete strangers.

She said: “This was, the prosecution say, a completely unprovoked attack on a commuter on the Jubilee line going about his daily business.”

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

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

I was pleading ‘Please stop, please stop’. I was in shock, it was like a horror movie. I genuinely thought he was going to kill me

James Porritt

In a video interview played in court, Mr Porritt described minding his own business and being in a “bubble” as he sat in the carriage.

He was looking at his phone and feeling nervous about the family meeting when he heard a scream.

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.

Describing the attack, he said: “I was pleading ‘Please stop, please stop’.

“I was in shock, it was like a horror movie. I genuinely thought he was going to kill me.”

Mr Porritt said he did not feel anything but saw the blood as Morgan smashed an object over his head.

He said: “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 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’ve got nothing left now. 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.

Pointing with the knife through the door, 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.

He added: “It was just like he was a predator and he was hunting, and he decided he was hunting me.”

Mr Porritt 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 said he did not want anybody else, he just wanted me. He was fixated with me,” Mr Porritt said.

The attack happened on a train heading towards Green Park (Alamy/PA)

He managed to get away and through a carriage door, while holding the severed parts 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.

According to witnesses, passengers got up and screamed when the attacker started waving the knife around.

Many tried to run away but in the panic ended up piled on the floor, the court heard.

One witness said the attacker let out an “unholy scream” as he 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 bravely tried to engage with Morgan and told him to “calm down”, the court heard.

Meanwhile, a doctor who happened to be on the train gave Mr Porritt first aid.

On being confronted by police, Morgan dropped the blade, put his hands up and got on the floor.

He told officers 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.”

Morgan was to tell 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.

Morgan, of no fixed address, declined to give evidence in court.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in