A Somalian refugee who claims he was “possessed by the devil” when he went on a frenzied knife-wielding rampage across Christchurch before being shot by police has today been jailed for six years and six months.
Zakariye Mohamed Hussein, 27, earlier admitted the violent March 15 attacks where he kidnapped and stabbed pie delivery driver Marteine Robin before knifing a city council worker.
At Christchurch District Court today he could not explain why he launched the “serious, unprovoked, and random acts”.
Judge David Saunders told him his attacks terrified a number of innocent people who have suffered ongoing “physical and emotional harm” and can no longer trust people.
“This was serious violence, involving the use of a weapon, and involving serious injuries,” the judge told him.
Hussein has been in Hillmorton psychiatric hospital since the attacks recovering from his gunshot wounds and was earlier deemed fit to plead to the original charges.
He admitted charges of unlawful possession of a knife, kidnapping, and intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Police also withdrew a charge of attempting to kill the city council worker he kidnapped.
Defence counsel Allister Davis said his client wanted to issue a public apology to his victims today.
He was “full of remorse” for what happened, claiming he suffered “some sort of breakdown” the night before, which led him to camping out at Redwood School overnight, armed with knives.
He’s normally a “shy, reserved, polite” man when on his medication but when, like on this occasion, doesn’t take his drugs, says he is “possessed by the devil”, Mr Davis said.
He urged the judge to consider the man’s background, where he and his family fled their homeland of Somalia when civil war broke out.
Hussein witnessed his uncle being shot dead and left on his front door step, a woman violated, people shot dead, and lived with “bullets around every corner”.
The shooting drama started around 7am when he was disturbed in the grounds of Redwood School by the caretaker.
He chased the caretaker and a teacher who barricaded themselves inside a classroom and phoned police.
After failing to gain entry to the classroom, hijacked 36-year-old mum-of-one Marteine Robin’s delivery van and ordered her to drive off.
She told him to get out of her delivery truck, but he responded by forcing her at knifepoint to drive him across Christchurch, and then stabbing her in the shoulder.
“I feared the worst, I thought I was going to die,” she said later that day.
Ms Robin eventually managed to escape when the man was momentarily distracted at a traffic jam almost one hour, and 50km later.
But the drama only escalated when the man left the truck near the busy intersection of Hoon Hay and Halswell roads and then almost fatally stabbed a Christchurch City Council worker, who has name suppression.
City construction worker Jade Lynn, 22, saw the attacker rampaging between vehicles and approached him with a crowbar, striking him in the neck, and herding him away from other members of the public.
Eyewitnesses described Mr Lynn as a “hero” who prevented Hussein from attacking other bystanders.
The armed man was only stopped when pepper sprayed, tasered and then shot twice by a female police officer in his shoulder and wrist.