Golders Green knifeman tells court he had ‘just drunk too much’

Abdullah Gabriel had asked terrified shop staff for hear their views on ‘Israel and Palestine’


A knifeman who terrorised shop staff and demanded to hear their views on “Israel and Palestine”claims he had just drunk too much, the Old Bailey has heard.

Evyatar Reitman, 48, and his 18-year-old son Yosef Chaim had to fight off AbdullahGabriel, 34, when he approached them with “hate in his eyes”.

Reitman said later: “He came to ask about Israel Palestine and seemed to want us to say we were pro-Israel so he had a reason to attack.

“I could see the hate in his eyes.”

Abdullah admitted causing affray and being in possession of a knife in the terrifying incident that took place in Golders Green on 29 January.

Police initially treated the case as a hate crime - but decided just to charge Abdullah with affray.

His barrister said the incident was “was more linked to alcohol, which he was using as a crutch to self-medicate”.

Reitman told the JC at the time he had to fight off Abdullah while his son used his martial arts skills to try and restrain the knifeman.

Abdullah’s barrister Matthew Ness told the court his clientsuffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Ness said his actions were triggered by alcohol which he had been using to self-medicate.

“Mental health contributed to this offence.

“Mr Abdullah said his mental health issues had never caused him to leave the house with a knife before, and he attributed this to a very high alcohol intake.”

He said that in the months prior to the offence Abdullah had become concerned about the effect alcohol was having on him.

He said in October last year Abdullah had referred himself for professional support.

Abduallah was due to have his first treatment session on 26 January, three days before the incident.

“Unfortunately it was cancelled due to the practitioner not being available,” said Ness.

He said it was Abdullah’s view that the incident “was more linked to alcohol, which he was using as a crutch to self-medicate”.

Abdullah suggested that his client should be put on an alcohol treatment programme to enable him to address the issue.

Judge Charles Bourne KC ordered a pre-sentence report be drawn up and told Abdullah: “You are going to be sentenced on 8 May, by which time the probation service will have been in touch with you.

“It’s very much in your interests to assist the probation service.”

Abdullah appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink from HMP Wormwood Scrubs, dressed in a grey tracksuit.

He spoke only to confirm his identity and give his plea.

Abdullah, of Attlee Court, Barnet, was remanded in custody ahead of sentence on 8 May.

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