A samurai sword-wielding man on crack cocaine who attacked two innocent people before being subdued by “multiple” police Taser shots has been convicted of attempted murder.
Ali Bhatti, of Henderson Road in Crawley, was convicted yesterday at Hove Crown Court on a charge of attempted murder, a charge of aggravated assault with intent and possession of a bladed object in a public place.
The 33-year-old used the deadly weapon to attack two innocent members of the public in Crawley on Friday October 22 last year, causing them both significant physical injuries and lasting emotional trauma.
Police entered the area around 8pm in response to calls from Bhatti saying he was going out with a samurai sword and committing a crime. He had admitted to using crack cocaine and said he thought someone was trying to kill him.
Ali Bhatti used the deadly weapon to attack two innocent members of the public in Crawley on Friday October 22 last year
PC Ryan Oakley and Sergeant James Arrol-Barker were the first officers on the scene
While still on the phone with police, Bhatti left his home and rode a motorbike to the Broadfield roundabout, where he was involved in an accident. Then he began running through the traffic along Horsham Road, waving the samurai sword in the air.
A member of the public who recognized Bhatti asked him if he was okay. Bhatti responded by stabbing the 38-year-old man with his sword, causing serious injuries to his chest and forearm.
Bhatti continued the unprovoked attack, beating a second man, aged 61, walking along the footpath nearby, inflicting a large wound on his shoulder.
PC Ryan Oakley and Sergeant James Arrol-Barker were the first officers on the scene. They approached the armed suspect and used their taser multiple times before it worked and Bhatti fell to the ground. As soon as he did so, officers handcuffed him, confiscated the gun, and sought medical treatment for the two victims.
Terrifying footage shows the moment Bhatti faced police and motorists after he attacked the two men – before he was tasered and arrested.
In the video, the man in Crawley holds a giant samurai sword in front of dozens of cars while pacing up and down the street. It shows the man waving the gun in the air at the so-called Cheals roundabout as he approached several cars.
Terrifying footage shows the moment Bhatti faced police and motorists after he attacked the two men – before he was tasered and arrested
In the video, the man in Crawley holds a giant samurai sword in front of dozens of cars while pacing up and down the street. It shows the man waving the gun in the air at the so-called Cheals roundabout as he approached several cars
The crime scene after the double stabbing in Crawley on Friday October 22 last year
In recognition of their bravery, the two officers were named regional winners of the 2022 Southeast Police Federation Bravery Awards for their actions in arresting the armed suspect.
Bhatti was taken into custody and later charged with two counts of attempted murder and possession of a bladed object in a public place. He was found guilty by a jury and will be sentenced on Friday.
Crawley Criminal Investigation Detective Constable Scott Parry said: “This was an unprovoked and vicious attack on two innocent members of the public who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Both men’s lives were severely impacted by this attack – not only in their recovery from their physical injuries but also with the emotional scars they are now suffering.
“I applaud their courage in testifying and thank them for assisting our investigation. I hope today’s verdict will help them move through this deeply traumatic incident, knowing that a dangerous man has been brought to justice.’
After the incident, PC Oakley said: “I would be naïve to say I was fine after the incident. I haven’t talked to anyone about this for a long time. It was my sergeant who recognized this and supported me by getting me to speak openly about what I had seen and experienced. I was referred for help and advice. It’s been a long time coming and I wouldn’t say I’m 100% back but I’m almost there.
“Teamwork is an essential part of the service and helps us to be successful. I had teamwork at the time of the incident and teamwork to support me afterward and for that I want to thank my NCOs and colleagues.”
PC Oakley and Sgt. Arrol-Barker were nominated for a 2022 Police Association bravery award and announced they were the winners for the South East region at a special ceremony in London in July.
Sgt. James Arrol-Barker said, “First of all, when I found out I was nominated for the award, I was very proud. As most of us have said, it’s just our job. We joined the work to save people, protect people, and when you do something like that, it just comes naturally. So to be nominated for an award was very special and a great privilege.”
PC Oakley added: “When the incident was over, a few months later, I was told I had been nominated for an award. I was shocked, honored and felt unworthy.
“As police officers, we are committed to protecting the public and taking action when others may run away or freeze.
“We are all human, we all act and risk our lives every day to protect the public. That’s why we signed up for the job.”
Commending the actions of the two officers, Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges, Division Commander for West Sussex, said: “I am so proud of James and Ryan who have been rightly recognized for their courage and professionalism in responding to this dangerous and shocking incident.
“Your actions are in the best traditions of policing; Running into danger and putting themselves at risk to protect the general public.
“Policing is a challenging profession but it brings out the best in all of our staff and this is an excellent example of which has been rightly recognized on this occasion.”