Camden knifeman who wanted to kill Muslim loses appeal

Michael O'Leary

Michael O'Leary - Credit: Archant

A knife robber who attacked two shopkeepers – telling one he ‘wanted to kill a Muslim’ – has had his eight-year prison sentence upheld.

Michael Patrick O’Leary, 36, of St John’s Grove, Upper Holloway, was jailed for eight years at Blackfriars Crown Court in March, after admitting assault with intent to rob and two counts of unlawful wounding.

O’Leary, pictured, appealed against his sentence with his lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’.

But his challenge was thrown out by appeal court judges, who said the term was justified given the serious and racial nature of his crimes.

The court heard that O’Leary, high on drink and drugs, went into a shop on Greenland Road, Camden, at about 7.15pm on September 23 and brandished a kitchen knife at shopkeeper, Iftikher Ahmed.

The victim suffered cuts to his hand and to his head he tried to defend himself before O’Leary dropped the knife and fled.

O’Leary returned home to get two more knives and then went into a store on Holloway Road and threatened shopkeeper Samsul Islam, telling him he “wanted to kill a Muslim”.

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Mr Islam tried to grab the knife but fell to the floor and was punched and suffered a cut to his hand, before O’Leary fled.

Dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the judge was entitled to regard the offence as being racially motivated and the sentence was “not excessive”.

He added: “Overall, this was an extremely serious series of offences, which involved the appellant repeatedly arming himself with knives which he was prepared to brandish towards vulnerable victims.

“At least one of the offences was racially aggravated and the victims have suffered lasting psychological harm.”