Man who stabbed friend to death on Botanic Avenue said he was “Allah’s assassin”

Police Forensics search a property in India Street
Police Forensics search a property in India Street

A paranoid schizophrenic who broke into his friend’s house, chased him down Botanic Avenue then stabbed him to death with two knives told police he was “Allah’s assassin”, a court heard today on Wednesday.

Ahmed Noor, who is originally from Somalia but who was living at Agincourt Avenue in Belfast when he killed his friend, also said “this is the happiest day of my life” after he had “killed the king.”

Noor (34) pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mohsin Bhatti, who at the time of his death was a 29-year asylum seeker from Pakistan living on India Street in Belfast. The plea was accepted on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Belfast Court Court heard that 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, with the Crown saying this phonecall to the emergency services was a “graphic indicator of the fear, distress and horror of the attack.”

After Noor broke into his friend’s house and chased him down Botanic Avenue, he then repeatedly stabbed Mr Bhatti with two knives, resulting in multiple wounds. The injuries included fatal stab wounds to his chest which penetrated his heart, and a gaping wound to his abdomen.

Mr Bhatti was also stabbed six times in the back, and five times in the neck - one of which went through his jugular vein.

Telling Madam Justice McBride that Noor’s attack was “barbaric” and an “offense of particular savagery”, crown barrister Ciaran Murphy QC said that when police arrived at the scene, they found Noor beside his victim, covered in blood.

Mr Murphy said Noor made a series of comments to police at the scene, whilst being taken to hospital and also when he was in custody. At the scene, Noor said he had “put a disease” in his friend’s “fat gut”. He also said he had “killed the king”, then said “I am the king. I have been sent on a mission and now my mission is complete, lock me away forever.”

Noor also told police “this is the happiest day of my life”, said Mr Bhatti was “screaming for at least ten minutes,” and said: “Allah sent me to kill him, I am Allah’s assassin.”

In addition, Noor said that during the attack he both spat on and stood on Mr Bhatti’s face. He also said “I will get rid of all suicide bombers, they are not real Muslims”, as well as saying “I want to kill all homosexuals. I want to nail them to crosses on the road to Mecca.”

Mr Murphy branded the attack on Mr Bhatti as “unprovoked” and said it was carried out at a time when Noor was “under the self-induced influence of drugs.”

Noor - described in court as a paranoid schizophrenic with a ‘cannabis dependence syndrome’ - was initially remanded in custody after stabbing his friend to death, but was later transferred to a secure unit at Knockbracken Healthcare Park on the outskirts of Belfast.

Mr Murphy said that as well as seeming to rejoice in killing Mr Bhatti, Noor has also displayed “emotional indifference” and has not participated fully in programmes offered at Knockbracken.

Regarding the victim, Mr Murphy said Mr Bhatti was an asylum seeker, and a Muslin who was originally from Pakistan. The prosecutor told the court “he was never in any trouble, had no known enemies and no criminal record.” He also lived in Spain and the Republic of Ireland before moving to Belfast.

Defence barrister Frank O’Donoghoe QC said his client had a long-standing addiction to cannabis, adding that when he killed his friend he was “in a psychotic state and had taken drugs” which led to “delusional views and delusional actions.”

Mr O’Donoghoe also spoke about his client’s mental health issues and said “whilst he is not as ill as he was at the time of the crime, he does remain ill.”

The barrister also said Noor apologised for his conduct last January, which occurred “at a time when clearly his mental illness substantially impaired his mental reasoning.” He added: “He was standing and waiting for the authorities coming and saying he had killed the king. He was clearly out of his mind.”

After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Madam Justice McBride said she would pass sentence next Thursday, September 15. Noor was remanded back to Knockbracken.