'Dangerous' uni student jailed for 38 years for 'random' knife attacks

Amine Laouar who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm

Amine Laouar who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm - Credit: Met Police

A "remorseless" university student  who carried out three random, unprovoked knife attacks in Neasden in six days – killing one man and injuring two others – has been jailed for 38 years.

Sentencing Amine Laouar to life imprisonment for murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm [GBH], at the Old Bailey on Thursday (July 28), Judge Martin Picton branded him "highly dangerous" and said his crimes "remain as inexplicable as they are terrible".

Laouar, 21, of Oxford Place, Brent, murdered Leon Street, 48, who had left home to go out to the shops in Neasden Lane North, at about 9.30pm on January 11 last year.

He stabbed the former delivery driver repeatedly, first as he was standing then after he fell to the ground.

Leon Street, who was murdered by Amine Laouar in a random attack as he walked down Neasden Lane North in January 2021

Leon Street, who was murdered by Amine Laouar in a random attack as he walked down Neasden Lane North in January 2021 - Credit: Met Police

Mr Street, who had a partner and children, suffered five stab wounds to his chest, as well as wounds to the hands and leg but still managed to get home, where paramedics tried to save his life, but he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Minutes before the attack on Mr Street, and just 150 metres away, Laouar had targeted Mirvais Khan, creeping up behind him and "plunging" a knife into his back, penetrating his lung.

Judge Picton said he had "no doubt" that had the knife not got stuck in his back, he would have inflicted more serious injuries.

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The third stabbing was carried out six days later, on the morning of Sunday January 17 last year, when he ran up and stabbed Mitul Karaniya in the back as he was passing the exact spot where Mr Khan was attacked.

Mr Karaniya, who suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs, read out a statement to the court detailing the lasting impact the attack has has on him and his wife, who was pregnant at the time.

Giving evidence during the trial which opened last week, Laouar claimed he had been framed by the "real killer" and that the prosecution had the wrong man.

But the jury deliberated for just one hour and 15 minutes to reject his version of events and find him guilty of all the charges on Tuesday (July 26).

Mr Street's daughter and fiancée both broke down as they read out impact statements in court ahead of sentencing.

His daughter detailed the "destruction and heartbreak" that her father's "untimely" death has caused.

His fiancée described how she can no longer carry out her job supporting patients with end of life care, and how they were due to wed this month.

She said: "Instead of being at our wedding, I have had to sit through his murder trial.

"He was my soulmate. I miss him more than words can say but now he's gone in such a brutal and barbaric way.

"The loving memories and happy times are now tarnished by this event."

Judge Picton said their moving statements demonstrated "the high regard in which he was held". 

"The loss and suffering you caused that night is irreversible. His family and friends will never recover," he told Laouar as he sentenced him to life imprisonment.

"Your attack was brutal and remorseless. 

"The victims were vulnerable and walking alone with no warning they would be attacked.

"The attacks were savage and sustained and they would have experienced a significant degree of pain, fear and suffering."

He continued: "The evidence against you was overwhelming. Despite this you have denied all responsibility.

"You had been a university student up until that day, and you acknowledge there was a decline in your mental health during that period.

"There is some evidence you were using cannabis to a greater extent than you admitted to the jury, and you were struggling with your mental health, but there is no explanation as to what you did." 

The 38-year minimum term does not mean Laouar will be released at the end of it as the decision will then go to the parole board.

Judge Picton said the police officers involved in the case have been awarded a crown court commendation for their work.

"This must have been a challenging police investigation and the pressure to identify the defendant, who represented a real danger to members of the public, must have been extreme," he said.