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A man who carried out a savage attack on a police officer in Leyton with a machete after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop has been convicted.
Muhammad Rodwan, 56, who was living in the Luton area at the time of the incident, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent at the Old Bailey today (Thursday, 23 January) following a trial.
He was found not guilty of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
He will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, January. 24
The court heard how Rodwan seriously injured PC Stuart Outten, 29, after repeatedly attacking him with a machete, which had a 19 inch blade.
The officer was rushed to hospital after the attack and required surgery for multiple injuries.
Jurors were told that if PC Outten had not been able to discharge his Taser in a desperate bid to stop Rodwan’s frenzied attack, his injuries could have been far worse or even fatal.
PC Outten and his colleague PC Helen Brooks, were in a marked police van on what was a typical nightshift, just after midnight on Thursday, August, 8, when they noticed an old white van in front of them in High Road, Leyton.
A check on the number plate revealed the van did not have insurance so PC Outten, who was driving, turned on the blue lights and indicated for the van to pull over – a routine traffic stop and something that PC Outten had done on numerous occasions. The van, which was being driven by Rodwan, pulled over and PC Brooks went over and asked him to join her on the pavement. However, he shouted at PC Brooks and drove off.
The officers drove after Rodwan’s van and again signalled for him to pull over, .
PC Brooks once again approached the vehicle, which Rodwan had now got out of, while PC Outten moved the police van and parked it in front of Rodwan’s van in a bid to prevent him from driving off again.
PC Brooks asked Rodwan to join her on the pavement, but he continued to shout at her before walking back towards his van.
As Rodwan approached the driver’s door of his van, he was met by PC Outten. Rodwan was becoming increasingly agitated and told PC Outten to move out of the way as he started trying to get into the driver’s seat.
PC Outten told Rodwan that he was not driving away and went to get hold of his right arm as Rodwan tried to shut the van door. Rodwan then lashed out towards PC Outten and punched him twice in the face.
There was a struggle as the officers tried to get Rodwan out of the van.
PC Outten told Rodwan he was under arrest for assaulting a police officer and cautioned him. Rodwan continued to struggle before he started to hack at PC Outten with a machete.
Despite being attacked, PC Outten was able to draw his Taser and point it at Rodwan, who sprang from the van and kept attacking PC Outten with his machete.
He discharged his Taser but the first shot failed to incapacitate Rodwan. Incredibly, PC Outten was able to discharge a second shot as he stumbled and fell to the ground, with Rodwan still attacking him with the machete. The second shot was successful and Rodwan fell to the ground.
Members of the public provided first aid , using a jacket to try and stop the bleeding from his head, until more police officers arrived at the scene.
PC Outten was taken to the Royal London Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. These included six deep wounds to the head with associated multiple fractures to the skull, and two wounds to the lower part of his right arm with multiple fractures of the fingers.
Rodwan was taken to an east London police station. During interview, when the allegation of attempted murder was put to Rodwan, he replied: “This officer attacked me and I defended myself.’ Rodwan chose not to reply to all the other questions put to him.
Rodwan was charged on Thursday, August 8 and while the reasons for him being remanded in custody were explained, he said: “My life is worth more than his life.”
PC Outten will always have the physical scars from the attack and his hand will never recover its full strength. He has been inundated with support from the public after the attack and as well as being sent kind messages, he received dozens of cards and gifts that still reached him despite only being addressed to ‘machete police officer London.’
He hopes to be back patrolling the streets of London soon in his new position with the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command.
PC Outten said: “What happened that day will always stay with me, I’ll always have that memory of how a plain and simple job can escalate into you having to fight for your life.
“All I can do is move forward, I will not let it discourage me from doing the job I love.
“It’s been really hard seeing how it has affected my family, this has impacted on their lives as well. It also upset me to see my family having to deal with the distress of the court case and watch the harrowing footage – having to hear a machete repeatedly go into the skull of their loved one was not easy for them.
“As soon as I realised I’d been attacked with a machete, I just knew that I needed to stop him or he would kill me. I’ve been Taser trained since 2013 and luckily my training kicked in. When the first shot didn’t work, I remember thinking that if the second one didn’t work, that would be it and I’d be dead.
“I would like to thank the members of public who helped me on that evening and I’d also like to thank all the members of public who sent me well wishes, cards and gifts. It really meant a lot to me and my family.”
Detective Chief Inspector Nathan Munson from the North East area’s CID, who led the investigation, said: “Rodwan was not acting in self-defence on that day – the number of blows, the force of the blows and targeted blows to PC Outten’s head proved this.
“It is reassuring for Londoners to know this violent individual will be unable to cause harm to other members of the emergency services or the wider public. I’m proud of PC Outten, he demonstrated incredible bravery and professionalism, which undoubtedly prevented him suffering even more serious injuries.”
Commander for the North East Basic Command Unit, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker, said: “This frenzied, brutal attack on PC Outten is a stark reminder of the dangers London’s officers face and confront every day to keep the public safe and tackle crime.
“Officers should be able to go about their work, protecting the public without fear of abuse or attack. Unfortunately that is not the reality, and officers are regularly the victims of unacceptable physical assaults whilst on duty, but this is something we should never accept as ‘part of the job.’
“The Met takes officer welfare extremely seriously and continues to invest in the very best officer safety equipment. Luckily, PC Outten was carrying a Taser and miraculously managed to use it despite being savagely attacked. I honestly believe that using that Taser may have saved PC Outten’s life.
“I would once again like to commend the remarkable bravery, resilience and determination PC Outten showed that night. He is a real credit to the Met and to the communities he polices. Londoners are lucky to have officers like PC Outten looking out for them.”
See shocking footage of the attack below. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT