Russell Square stabbings: Zakaria Bulhan detained indefinitely

Published
image copyrightMet Police
image captionZakaria Bulhan admitted the charges on the first day of his trial

A man who admitted killing a US tourist and wounding five others in a rampage in central London last year has been handed an unlimited hospital order.

Zakaria Bulhan, 19 stabbed retired teacher Darlene Horton, 64, to death as he roamed through Russell Square.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding at the Old Bailey on Monday .

His other victims all recovered well from their physical injuries.

Mrs Horton was among many tourists on their way back to their hotels that evening on 3 August, 2016.

'Terror fanatic' fears

Initially police feared it was the work of a terrorist, amid reports of indiscriminate violence close to the scene of the 7/7 bombings, but the court heard Bulhan had been suffering an "acute" episode of paranoid schizophrenia.

Sentencing Bulhan, Mr Justice Spencer described the killing as "a tragic waste of life" and said the psychological effects on the survivors of the attack would never leave them.

He told Bulhan: "It is quite clear that when you committed these dreadful crimes you were not in your right mind. You were in the grip of mental illness."

He added: "These were crimes which caused enormous public concern because, from their timing, it was feared initially that they might be the work of a terrorist fanatic.

"As it turned out they were not, although that is no consolation to your victims."

Previously one of the arresting officers told the court how he came "very close" to shooting Bulhan before he could injure any more people.

He said he was overcome by relief that he had not needed to use lethal force, but then had the "wind knocked out of his sails" on discovering that a member of the public had died in the attacks.

Bulhan was handed a hospital order without limit of time.

More on this story