London

Leyton machete police attack: 'I thought he would kill me'

PC Stuart Outten
Image caption PC Stuart Outten thought he was going to die in the attack

A night patrol in east London last August had begun like any other in PC Stuart Outten's decade-long career with the Met Police. Yet it would end abruptly with him severely wounded in the middle of a street and fighting for his life.

"My only thought process at the time was I need to stop him or he will kill me," the 29-year-old recalls.

He had been travelling along Leyton High Road on 7 August with a colleague when they spotted a suspicious looking van.

PC Outten, who was driving, asked his colleague to check the vehicle's details in the police national computer.

They realised the van had no insurance so decided to pull the driver over.

The man behind the wheel was Muhammad Rodwan, a 56-year-old handyman from Luton, who was convicted of wounding with intent but found not guilty of attempted murder following a trial at the Old Bailey.

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Media captionGraphic footage from PC Stuart Outten's body worn camera showed Rodwan punching the officer before grabbing a sharpened machete

PC Outten said Rodwan originally stopped but "doesn't get out of the car, he shouts at my colleague through his closed window then drives off".

"So we have a car chase that lasts no longer than 300-400 metres and he stops again, gets out of his van and shouts at me through the windscreen," he adds.

After remonstrating with the officers, Rodwan tried to drive away again but PC Outten stopped him from closing the van door.

He then punched the Met officer twice in the face.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption PC Outten suffered six wounds to the head including a fractured skull

The officer arrested Rodwan on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, yet that was just the beginning of the attack.

"He broke free of my grip, lunges across inside his van - I'm trying to grab his trousers, grab his legs to try to drag him out and he starts hitting me in the head with something," PC Outten says.

The officer became aware his head was "getting wet quickly" and was conscious "something big, heavy and sharp was hitting me on the side of the head" but, with the adrenaline taking over, he "could not feel it" .

'He's going to kill me'

In fact Rodwan was slashing at him with a rusty two-foot long (60cm) machete, slicing into his head and arms blow by blow.

Despite his severe injuries, the PC was able to back away and fired his Taser.

But the stun gun failed to make a full impact and Rodwan, still armed, advanced towards him.

"My thought process then is 'Well, I've got one more shot and if this one doesn't work he's going to kill me'," the PC recalls.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The officer also suffered injuries to his hands and arms

Stumbling to the floor, PC Outten aimed and fired again.

"I fully believe that he would have carried on hacking at me," he says.

With Rodwan incapacitated, the Met officer radioed for support and he was rushed to hospital.

He had suffered six head wounds, including a fractured skull, slash wounds to his arm, several broken fingers and three severed tendons in one hand.

His scars are still prominent five months on, but lying in the hospital at the time he was glad "everything was still intact".

PC Outten spent just 36 hours in hospital having just "wanted to go home".

Image caption PC Outten's scars on his head and arms are still highly visible

The officer is still in recovery and has to complete stretches daily to keep his injured hand in working order.

But he holds no ill feelings to the man who left him so badly hurt.

"I don't believe he was attacking me personally, I believe he was attacking a police officer in uniform," he says.

"There's no hatred, there's no time for hatred. He'll get what he deserves via sentence. I can't go round holding grudges otherwise they'll weigh on me and they'll bring me down, and they'll change who I am."

Talking about the night he nearly died has helped him deal with the aftermath and, remarkably, he insists it has not tainted his enthusiasm for policing the capital.

"I can't change it so there's no point feeling sad, feeling down or anything negative about it. All I can do is use that and move forward with it.

"As soon as they let me, I'll be back on the street. If they'd have let me I would have been out a week with my stitches in place and my hand in a cast."

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