Britain’s ‘hardest cop’ relives machete attack as handyman convicted
“Britain’s hardest cop” has told how he survived a ferocious machete attack in the line of duty as a handyman with a violent past was convicted of wounding him.
Pc Stuart Outten, 29, suffered six blows to the head from a 2ft long blade after stopping Muhammad Rodwan’s white van for having no insurance in Leyton, east London, on the evening of August 7 last year.
As Rodwan “came in for the kill” with machete poised to strike, the Metropolitan Police officer Tasered him twice, the Old Bailey heard.
Bleeding heavily from deep gashes to the head, broken fingers and a wound to the arm, Pc Outten shouted at a passerby to pass his radio so he could call for an ambulance.
Rodwan, 56, who has previous convictions for rape and two machete attacks, claimed he acted in self defence, telling police: “My life is worth more than his life.”
But graphic police body worn video showed him punching the officer before grabbing a sharpened machete as Pc Outten tried to arrest him.
Just an hour before the incident, Pc Outten had texted his girlfriend, who is also an officer: “Right I’m off to cause trouble. Stay safe my love.”
Later, he sent her the rueful update that it was “a bit more trouble” than he had bargained for.
A jury deliberated for seven hours to find Rodwan guilty of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
He was cleared of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
Rodwan had claimed he had the machete in his van for his gardening work.
Afterwards, Pc Outten said he counted himself “very lucky” to survive, saying “thankfully” his head was hard enough to withstand the onslaught.
He said: “On that night I was just doing my job, doing what I’m trained to do, but more importantly making sure I didn’t die, because that was a distinct possibility had the attack carried on.
“Once he’s started hitting me in the head with the machete, then I realised it was escalating very quickly and I was having to now fight for my life.
“I recall specifically as I was falling to the floor, having fired the first shot and aiming for the second (thinking) that if this doesn’t work, this might be it.
“But luckily the Taser worked. It did its job. He fell incapacitated next to me and I was able to use it to keep him on the floor and to keep myself alive.”
Of his attacker, he said: “It feels good to see the system going through the paces, but personal feelings for him? I don’t have any.
“There’s no hatred. He did what he did, he’s now paying the price for it.
“I don’t feel the attack was personal. He was attacking an officer in uniform and I responded as such.”
Dismissing his “hardest cop” title, Pc Outten said: “Luckily I have the size and build that I can take a couple of machete blows to the head – apparently – and I can act afterwards.”
The jury was not told that Rodwan had previously attacked two men with a machete in the bedroom of his flat in east London in 1996.
The defendant, then known as Rodney Reid, was jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court for nine years for wounding with intent.
In 1983, he was jailed at the Old Bailey for three years for rape and in 2008 he received a caution for having cannabis, according to sources.
At the time of his arrest last year, Rodwan gave a relative’s address in Luton, Bedfordshire, but went on to tell jurors he slept in his van around Waltham Forest.
During his trial, Mrs Justice Carr ruled Rodwan’s violent past was inadmissible despite jurors asking about previous convictions.
Following the verdicts, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker paid tribute to Pc Outten, saying: “He did what I would hope the vast majority of police officers in the country would do.
“He had the training, he put that into action, notwithstanding he was very, very lucky that day and I’m very, very proud of Stuart. He did an amazing job to apprehend that individual.”
The commander for the Waltham Forest and Newham area said there had been a rise in attacks on police personnel in the capital, with 16 recorded every day.
But he said: “We are not going to arm our officers because it’s not necessary in terms of our demand.
“You will always come across people who are prepared to have a go at the police. I can never plan for every eventuality. We try to. We risk assess our big operations.
“The incident involving Stuart, that’s what we do every single day. We patrol. We stop cars that have not got insurance and we deal with people, and in a city of nine million people some of them are quite violent.
“So other than, I don’t know, having everyone carrying guns and everyone going out in fours, sometimes these incidents happen.”
He called on the public to spare a thought for the “extraordinary” men and women working to keep communities safe, and to lend them help rather than film on their mobile phones.
According to Scotland Yard figures, 5,900 officers and staff were attacked between January and December last year, compared with 5,700 in the period between November 2018 and October 2019.
A total of 45% involved some form of injury, and of those, 10% amounted to grievous bodily harm or grievous bodily harm with intent.