Man murdered passerby in Hartlepool over conflict in Gaza, court told

<span>Ahmed Alid is on trial at Teesside crown court in Middlesbrough.</span><span>Photograph: Islandstock/Alamy</span>
Ahmed Alid is on trial at Teesside crown court in Middlesbrough.Photograph: Islandstock/Alamy

A 45-year-old man accused of murdering someone he came across by chance in the street told police he wanted to kill people because of the conflict in Gaza, wanting “Palestine to be free from the Zionists”, a court has heard.

Ahmed Alid, an asylum seeker living in Hartlepool, was said to have told police he had killed “because Israel was killing children” and that if he had had a machine gun, he would have killed more people.

Alid has gone on trial accused of murdering Terence Carney, 70, in Hartlepool town centre in the early hours of a Sunday morning last October.

He is also accused of attempting to murder a housemate, Javed Nouri, whom he regarded as an apostate because he had converted from Islam to Christianity.

Alid, who is a Moroccan national, faces two further charges of assaulting two police detectives who interviewed him after his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford KC told a jury at Teesside crown court in Middlesbrough that Alid was one of four men, all asylum seekers, who shared a house in Hartlepool.

He said Nouri and Alid initially got on until the defendant found out Nouri had been a Muslim who had converted to Christianity. Sandiford said Alid considered Nouri an apostate and “therefore somebody who deserved to die”.

Housemates noticed Alid was paying particular attention to news coverage of the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on 7 October and had begun to carry a knife, the jury heard.

Nouri had complained about Alid’s alleged threatening behaviour to police but “rightly or wrongly”, Sandiford said, the police decided no offence had been committed.

The fact that Nouri had complained was a motive for Alid wanting to kill him, Sandiford said. He added that Nouri was in bed when Alid, armed with two knives, kicked in the door of his bedroom and stabbed the victim several times in the chest and leg.

The jury heard an audio recording from a 999 call in which Nouri could be heard screaming and someone said to be Alid could be heard repeatedly shouting “Allahu Akbar” [God is Great].

The prosecution allege that Alid thought he had killed Nouri and that he left the house and walked towards the centre of Hartlepool, armed with one knife.

The jury watched CCTV footage that, the prosecution said, showed Alid approaching Carney from behind. When Carney realised Alid had a knife, he began running away. But Alid repeatedly stabbed him. Carney died at the scene.

The court heard a postmortem examination established that the victim had been stabbed six times in the chest, abdomen and back. Sandiford said Alid admitted killing Carney in a police interview and said he wanted to kill more people, but injuries to his hand had prevented him.

“He swore by Allah that if he had a machine gun and more weapons he would have killed more victims,” Sandiford said.

Later in the interview, Alid “admitted that he had intended to kill Mr Carney and said that his intention had been to kill more people. He described Mr Carney as an innocent victim, killed because Britain had created what he described as ‘the Zionist entity’.

“He put it this way: ‘They killed children and I killed an old man.’”

Sandiford said Alid told officers Britain “was on the verge of an explosion and that there would be more victims”. Alid said the attacks were for the sake of Palestine and that “he was ready for shahada, or martyrdom”.

After Alid was arrested he was taken to Middlesbrough where he made a speech in Arabic in his holding cell which was filmed on body-worn camera.

Sandiford said Alid assaulted two female detectives who had interviewed him. “Both were shaken by their experience.”

The trial continues.