The Islington Gazette reports on the sentencing of Michael O’Leary, who was on trial for an attack on a Muslim shopkeeper in north London last year.
O’Leary, who attacked Samsul Islam at his convenience store on Holloway Road, was cleared of attempted murder at Blackfriars Crown Court last week.
Samsul Islam told the court of how O’Leary asked him whether he was a Muslim and when Islam said he was, O’Leary replied “I’d love to kill a Muslim”. O’Leary’s lawyers successfully defended him against an attempted murder charge stating his motive was robbery to finance a drug habit and that he had not meant the menacing words as a death threat.
O’Leary pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful wounding for injuries sustained by Samsul Islam and in connection with another incident the same day. In both cases, O’Leary is said to have brandished a knife while allegedly attempting to rob the stores. At trial, O’Leary claimed he didn’t remember making the “racist remark” because of his intoxicated state.
Sentencing O’Leary to five years in prison, Judge Peter Clarke QC said, “There was a desperate struggle; the knife used was more substantial than its predecessor. The blade appears to have been bent, demonstrating the desperation in which Mr Islam grasped that weapon with what he believed to be an attempt to save his own life.”
“The effect on these two shop keepers has been devastating.”