Life in jail for teen who kicked woman in face before scissor attack on man in Camden shop

Abdul Rahim Sowe had sentence increased to life

Abdul Rahim Sowe had sentence increased to life - Credit: Archant

A teenager who attacked and robbed a good Samaritan in Belsize Park as she provided directions before going on to bottle and stab a stranger in a Camden off-licence has had his sentence increased to life in prison.

Abdul Rahim Sowe, now 20, of no fixed abode, had originally been jailed for 18 years, with a five-year extended licence period, after pleading guilty to attempted murder and causing actual bodily harm (ABH) at Blackfriars Crown Court in February.

The judge who sentenced him described Sowe’s actions as the worst violence he had seen in his more than 40 years in the law.

Sowe’s punishment, however, was today attacked as far too soft by the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC.

And three senior judges at London’s Appeal Court agreed with him, upping Sowe’s sentence to life.

The court had heard how on September 20 last year, Sowe stopped his first victim on Haverstock Hill and asked her for directions to the local mosque. The woman told him it was five minutes away and offered to walk with him, as she was a Muslim and going there herself.

Several minutes later, Sowe accused the woman of lying and became very abusive.

Most Read

He then punched her in the face several times and as she lay on the ground he kicked her in the face repeatedly before stealing money from her purse and walking off.

Sowe then made his way to Camden High Street to buy a top-up card for a mobile phone he had bought with the stolen money.

While waiting to be served Sowe became increasingly impatient and abusive before knocking a 53-year-old male customer unconscious by repeatedly hitting him on the head with a bottle.

He then bottled him in the face before stabbing him in his face, throat and head with a pair of scissors as he lay unconcious.

An ambulance rushed the victim to hospital in a critical condition.

British Transport Police officers arrested Sowe in a nearby shop.

The victim had to spend two months in hospital undergoing extensive re-constructive surgery to his face, head and throat.

He is still being fed through a tube to his stomach due to his extensive throat injuries, police said.

Lord Justice Goss ruled today: “The judge was required to pass a sentence of custody for life in this case - it was the only appropriate disposal.

“The judge said he had never seen anything like it in 43 years at the bar and on the bench.

“Given the specific finding of dangerousness, any other disposal would have been inconsistent with the level of violence involved and the harm to the victim.

“The offence was aggravated by the consumption of mind-altering stimulants.

“A life sentence is a sentence of last resort, particularly in the case of a young offender, but there was no other possible disposal in this case.”

Mr Buckland said later: “Given the seriousness of these offences, I submitted that the original sentence which was passed was insufficient. The level of violence was horrifying.

“The original sentence failed to adequately reflect the significant amount of trauma suffered by both victims and the sheer senselessness and viciousness of the attack.”