London

Leyton machete attack: Van driver hit PC 'to defend myself'

Muhammad Rodwan Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Muhammad Rodwan denies attempted murder

A van driver repeatedly hit a police officer with a machete after he was pulled over in order to defend himself, the Old Bailey has heard.

Muhammad Rodwan struck PC Stuart Outten after he was stopped in Leyton, east London, for having no insurance.

Mr Rodwan, of Luton, said he was "cheesed off" because he was "always being stopped".

The 56-year-old admits striking the PC on 7 August but denies attempted murder, claiming it was self defence.

The court has heard the Met Police officer suffered six wounds to the head, skull fractures, injuries to the arm and broken fingers after he stopped Mr Rodwan's van.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption PC Stuart Outten suffered several injuries including six wounds to the head

Giving evidence, the handyman told the court he had been living in his van where he kept all his possessions and work tools, including the 2ft-long (60cm) rusty machete which he had used earlier for a gardening job.

He said when he first saw police blue lights, he thought they must be for someone else and was unaware his insurance had expired 12 days earlier.

Asked why he was "agitated" when he was approached by PC Outten, Mr Rodwan said "because I'm always being stopped".

He told jurors he did not recall punching the officer before he was arrested but found it "extremely painful" when the PC then pulled out seven of his dreadlocks and grabbed his throat.

"I could not breathe at all. It felt like he cracked my throat, squeezed so hard it felt like it was popping," he said.

The court heard he then picked up his machete and began hitting the officer "to get him away".

Asked whether he intended to kill the 29-year-old, Mr Rodwan replied: "I was trying to defend myself."

"That was the only thing I had that I could have got hold of, that was the only thing close at hand," he said.

Mr Rodwan denies attempted murder, an alternative of wounding with intent, and possessing an offensive weapon.

The trial continues.

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