Kingsbury smash-and-grab robbery hero was Buckingham Palace knife protestor
- Credit: Archant
A former butcher who once held a knife to his throat outside Buckingham Palace led the community charge which stopped a smash-and-grab robber in Kingsbury.
Talhat Rehman threw a knife towards Lookman Shekoni, who last week pleaded guilty to being in an armed moped gang that used axes and hammers to smash through the windows of The Jeweller on Kingsbury Road.
The 53-year-old, who works part time in Saaqy Supermarket, led the fight against the eight-strong mob on September 7, which led to the arrest of Shekoni.
Mr Rehman said: “I did it. I took a knife from a guy who was standing nearby and went forward towards the thieves. Three of them were waving axes and one of the guys was turning the bike, so I stepped forward, I threw the knife at them and then everybody went forward. Somebody had to do this.
“You can’t let the people go, they’ll do it again, they did do it again in Kilburn but no-one came forward.”
He added: “I hate the people who do robbery and do fraud. It happened to me and I know how it feels. I protested heavily in front of the palace and I was released by the judge, that’s why I went forward to make sure that guy was arrested.”
Mr Rehman, who has five children and 20 grandchildren, was a victim of fraud in 2009 which saw him lose thousands of pounds in what he believed to be honest business deals.
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In desperation he appealed to The Queen and was arrested in 2013 when he jumped over barricades during the Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The shop worker, who lives in Kenton, was shot four times by police with a taser gun as he held a knife to his throat and stomach threatening to harm himself if the police came close to him.
He said: “I went to protest against the judicial system. I didn’t just go there out of the blue. I called the palace security guards to tell them what I was going to do. I’m not harming anybody I told them, just myself, keep the police away from me when I protest. But the police tasered me four times.”
Mr Rehman and the community in Kingsbury Road were commended by police officers following the robbery.
Detective Inspector Scott Hartley, of the Flying Squad told the Times: “While we would never encourage people to get involved directly in this way, I would like to commend the brave actions of passers-by that led to Shekoni being promptly arrested. They acted with little regard for their own safety, intent on catching those who had carried out such a brazen robbery in broad daylight.”
Shekoni will be sentenced on November 2 for his part in the robbery and a second burglary at an opticians in St John’s Wood High Street on August 14.
Anyone with information about the remaining suspects should call the Flying Squad on 020 8785 8655