Afghan asylum seeker asked shoppers if they were English, before attacking them with 10-inch knife

Samiulahaq Akbari, 32, allegedly stalked potential victims at a Tesco Extra in Thornton Heath on January 8 while holding a 10-inch blade.

Footage shows the Afghan asylum seeker tapping shopper Nicholas Speight on the shoulder before asking his nationality. When Speight revealed that he was from the UK, Akbari lunged at the victim with a large knife, the court was told.

Prosecutor Heidi Stonecliffe told the court on Tuesday that it was only “by luck” that the unsuspecting victim had escaped the ordeal without a mark. This defendant had set out deliberately to threaten, harm and kill members of the public by virtue of their nationality, or what Mr Akbari perceived to be their nationality – they were English.

Within 10 minutes of fleeing the scene, Akbari had pulled a knife on two other men, one at a nearby Kebabish restaurant and the other at the Plough on the Pond pub in Croydon. On both occasions, Akbari asked for the victims’ nationality before launching his attack. Neither men were harmed.

When Akbari returned home after the incident, his cousin called the police, warning them that “he wants to kill the English people. I can see his eyes, he’s serious. He will do it. He’s trying to run and he will kill someone. Please come quickly.”

The trial continues.