Lecturer headbutted and knocked unconscious in attack in Belsize Park
PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 April 2015 | UPDATED: 18:11 02 April 2015
A Canadian tourist was left unconscious and drenched in his own blood after being headbutted in the face on a Belsize Park street.
Former UN diplomat Zakariah Fellah told how he was attacked by a man who had shouted anti-Semitic abuse at him as he walked his dogs along leafy Lancaster Grove.
Mr Fellah, 49, was visiting Belsize Park to stay with a friend who is a diplomat at the Polish embassy in London.
After coming round, and bleeding profusely from his smashed nose, he stumbled back to his friend’s home further down Lancaster Grove and called police - who took 45 minutes to arrive.
They took him to the Royal Free Hospital where he spent five hours and was given eight stitches to his nose. He is now waiting for the results of an X-ray to see the full extent of damage to his face.
Mr Fellah told how he had gone out for an evening stroll before bed at around 10:30pm last Wednesday when he was attacked.
He said: “I had taken the dogs out and was walking along when this guy started shouting at me. I had seen him on a previous occasion and he seemed to have a problem with the dogs. He shouted at me ‘you are rich and Jewish and you shouldn’t let your dogs Poo on the street.’ He then came over and grabbed my hat..”
“Then on this occasion from nowhere he suddenly ran towards me and headbutted me on my nose. I was stunned and fell backwards. I was not expecting it at all. The next thing I knew, when I came round after ten or 15 seconds, I am lying on the floor and he is standing over me. My nose is destroyed.”
His attacker then fled.
Mr Fellah, who is Canadian but has lived in New York for the last 26 years, said: “I am just shocked, so shocked. It seems that London has become more dangerous than New York. This seems like such a peaceful, friendly neighbourhood, yet I feel safer on the streets of Manhattan without any doubt, where nothing like this has ever happened to me.”
He is surprised that the police took so long to arrive. “In New York the police would have arrived in five minutes.
“But they did explain that they didn’t realise that I had been badly hurt. They were then very courteous and called an ambulance. But it didn’t turn up so the police took me to the hospital in a patrol car,” he said.
Mr Fellah, who was born Muslim and now lectures around the world on Islamic extremism, had brought his cocker Spaniels over from the US to stay with his friend for several months.
He said: “I am now carrying on doing the things I love in London. But I do not feel comfortable walking down the street. It is just crazy. I never thought anything like this would happen in an area like this which is full of families, young children.”
A police spokesman confimed that officers were called to Lancaster Grove at 10:53pm last Wednesday. to reports that a man in his 40s had been headbutted.
The spokesman said: “A suspect was later arrested and questioned at a north London police station on suspicion of assault causing greivous bodily harm.”
The suspect has been released pending further inquiries.