Man apologises to surgeon over stab attack but denies ‘murder bid’

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A man who stabbed a Muslim surgeon with a knife outside a mosque has denied he was trying to murder his victim and apologised to the doctor in court.

Ian Rooke, 28, attacked Dr Nasser Kurdy from behind, stabbing him in the neck with a kitchen knife.

Rooke told police he wanted to kill someone and attacked Mr Kurdy as he was the first suitable victim he randomly came across, a jury at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester has heard.

The defendant has admitted the attack but denies he was trying to kill and has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

The jury heard Mr Kurdy was not attacked because he was entering a mosque or because he is Muslim but was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Rooke sat in the witness box and nodded to Mr Kurdy in the public gallery as he apologised for his actions and denied he was trying to murder his victim.

“I would just like to apologise to Mr Kurdy and even to my mother, I’m really sorry,” he said.

Nasser Kurdy speaking at his home following the attack (Pat Hurst/PA)
Nasser Kurdy at his home following the attack (Pat Hurst/PA)

“No,” Rooke replied.

The defendant said at the time of the attack he had not taken his anti-psychotic drug in the previous two days.

The medication helps stabilise his mood and prevents paranoia as a result of his personality disorder, he said.

Louise Brandon, prosecuting, said: “I’m going to suggest you were very much in control of what you were doing that day? Why stab Mr Kurdy?”

Rooke replied: “I can’t explain, I honestly can’t, if I could I would.”

Rooke pounced as Mr Kurdy, of Syrian Jordanian origin, walked into the Islamic Cultural Centre in Hale, Cheshire, around 5.30pm on September 24, last year.

The 58-year-old, an orthopaedic surgeon at Wythenshawe Hospital, retreated inside the building, grabbed a chair to defend himself and went outside to confront Rooke, but he had fled.

The father-of-three suffered a 5cm wound to the left side of the back of his neck.

The wound had missed his jugular vein and spinal cord by millimetres and Mr Kurdy was taken to hospital for stitches.

Rooke was arrested a short time later a short distance away after his brother told police officers called to the mosque who was responsible.

The defendant has pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon, but denies attempted murder.

Jurors were shown the bodycam footage of the officers arresting Rooke.

In it the defendant tells police: “I stabbed the guy. Some guy randomly in the street. My intention was to kill the guy.

“I have had enough, mate. My mental health issues.

“Today has come to my breaking point. I hope I have killed him.”

Jurors were sent home on Thursday afternoon to continue considering their verdict on Friday morning.

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