Knife killer given at least six years for fatal stabbing

A forensic officer on the scene in the aftermath of the killing
A forensic officer on the scene in the aftermath of the killing

A paranoid schizophrenic who killed his friend after breaking into his house and pursuing him onto the street with two knives was informed on Thursday that he will serve a minimum of six years for the “truly horrific” attack.

Sentencing Ahmed Noor at Belfast Crown Court, Madam Justice McBride said the fatal stabbing on Botanic Avenue last January was brutal, unprovoked and sustained.

Police forensics in India Street in January 2015

Police forensics in India Street in January 2015

After stabbing his friend, Noor told police “I killed the king, I am the king, I killed him, I killed the king.” He also said he was “Allah’s assassin.”

Moshin Bhatti - a 29-year asylum seeker from Pakistan who was living on India Street in Belfast at the time of his death - died of multiple stab wounds after he was chased and attacked by Noor.

Noor was initially charged with murder and possessing two offensive weapons. He denied the charges but later pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Bhatti on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Madam Justice McBride described Mr Bhatti as vulnerable and said he was a “quiet, gentle, hospitable and friendly man who got on well with others.”

Mr Bhatti called 999 from his mobile at 5am on January 29 last year, asking for police before the line went clear. He was then heard to scream, and sustained multiple wounds in the knife attack.

The injuries included fatal stab wounds to his chest which penetrated his heart, a gaping wound to his abdomen, six stab wounds to the back, and five to in the neck - one of which went through his jugular vein.

The court heard that Noor - who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia - had been smoking cannabis all day and night, and that around 20 minutes before the fatal offence, he came up with an idea to kill Mr Bhatti, and voices told him to do so.

He then armed himself with two kitchen knifes before breaking into his friends house by smashing a window with a fire extinguisher. Once inside, the two men struggled with Mr Bhatti fleeing the house chased by Noor.

Noor, who is originally from Somalia but who was living at Agincourt Avenue in Belfast when he killed his friend, later said “this is the happiest day of my life” and claimed he was going to rule the world.

During sentencing, Madam Justice McBride spoke of the impact Mr Bhatti’s death has had on his family, including his parents who remain in Pakistan and his sister who resides in England.

Revealing that Mr Bhatti’s death has resulted in profound mental upset and trauma for his family, Madam Justice McBride spoke of the “far-reaching consequences for the family of this unprovoked and brutal killing of their vulnerable son and brother.”

Madam Justice McBride said that whilst she accepted at the time of the offence that Noor was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning, he was also under self-induced intoxication due to his cannabis use.

Telling the court she deemed Noor to present a danger to the public, Madam Justice McBride said Noor’s cannabis use aggravated his underlying mental condition.

The judge also spoke of Noor’s lack of insight, his failure to comply with treatment programmes offered to him and his expressions of joy in the aftermath of killing Mr Bhatti. She also branded the killing as a “truly horrific, unprovoked, violent and sustained attack.”

Madam Justice McBride handed Noor an indeterminate custodial sentence, and said he will have to serve a minimum six years before he is eligable to be considered for release by the Paroles Commission.