Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
'Possessed by the devil'

The Star-Cantebury
Thursday, September 20, 2012
By Kurt Bayer

A Somali refugee who claims he was "possessed by the devil" when he went on a frenzied knife-wielding rampage across the city before being shot by police has been jailed for six years and six months.

Zakariye Mohamed Hussein, 27, earlier admitted the violent March 15 attacks where he kidnapped and stabbed pie delivery driver Marteine Robin before knifing a city council worker.

In the district court yesterday he could not explain why he launched the "serious, unprovoked, gratuitous and random acts".

Judge David Saunders told him his attacks terrified a number of innocent people who have suffered ongoing "physical and emotional harm" and can no longer trust people.

"This was serious violence, involving the use of a weapon, and involving serious injuries," he said.

Hussein has been in Hillmorton psychiatric hospital since the attacks recovering from his gunshot wounds and was earlier deemed fit to plead to the original charges.

He admitted charges of unlawful possession of a knife, kidnapping, and intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Police also withdrew a charge of attempting to kill the city council worker he kidnapped.

Defence counsel Allister Davis said his client wanted to issue a public apology to his victims.

He was ``full of remorse'', claiming he suffered ``some sort of breakdown'' the night before, which led him to camping out at Redwood School overnight, armed with knives.

He's normally a ``shy, reserved, polite'' man when on his medication but when, like on this occasion, doesn't take his drugs, says he is ``possessed by the devil'', Mr Davis said.

Hussein can no longer lift or use the arm where he was shot by police, Mr Davis said, but he accepts the police were right to do what they did.

He urged the Judge Saunders to Hussein's background, where he and his family fled their homeland of Somalia when civil war broke out.

Hussein witnessed his uncle being shot dead, women violated, and lived with ``bullets around every corner''.

The drama started around 7am when he was disturbed in the grounds of Redwood School by caretaker, Noel Batstone.

He chased Mr Batstone and a teacher who barricaded them selves inside a classroom and phoned police.

Hussein then hijacked 36-year-old mum-of-one Marteine Robin's delivery van and ordered her to drive off.

``I feared the worst, I thought I was going to die,'' she said later that day.

Ms Robin eventually managed to escape when Hussein was momentarily distracted at a traffic jam almost one hour, and 50km later.

But the drama only escalated when Hussein, who arrived in New Zealand aged 18, left the truck near the busy intersection of Hoon Hay and Halswell Rds and then almost fatally stabbed a city council worker, who has name suppression.


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