Ex-Winchester Student On Trial Over Police Knife Attacks

10 April 2019, 16:28

Old Bailey

A Winchester university drop-out accused of attacking four police officers with a large kitchen knife has blamed "strong" cannabis for his behaviour.

Alex Traykov, 20, admitted he had made a bogus 999 call under the alias "Solomon" to report a fictitious fight in Islington, north London, on the evening of October 6 last year.

When police arrived in Liverpool Road, he accepted he had produced a knife and injured the officers.

But giving evidence at the Old Bailey, he told jurors he did not intend to kill or cause serious harm to them.

Bulgarian-born Traykov said he had smoked cannabis before making the 999 call and it had a "very different" effect to what he had experienced before.

He said: "It was not a normal high I was experiencing ... It was very strong and I lost concentration. I was moving and doing things without actually thinking about it."

After Traykov called 999 for a "prank", he said: "At the time it was amusing to me, but now I can say for certain it was not funny at all."

The former Winchester University history student told jurors: "I have felt terrible since I came to prison and I have thought about it every day, tried to reason and live with it.

"I thought about the officers, how they were injured, and now I have seen them in court it's 10 times worse for me.

"I have had problems sleeping and whatnot as well."

The court has heard how Traykov attack Pc Istarlin Said-Ali, 31, bringing the blade down in her head, cutting her hand as she warded off a second blow.

He then allegedly ran at the other officers, lunging at Pc Rafal Zedziora, 34, inflicting a 4cm cut to his face, and slashing the back of his neck.

He wounded 40-year-old Pc Ben Thomson's arm and continued to rain down blows before he was twice Tasered by Pc Launa Watkins, 39, the court was told.

The court heard that Traykov had been visiting a college friend at the address in Islington at the time of the incident, which was captured on CCTV.

Traykov had contact with police three times before for having a cannabis joint and shoplifting, but insisted he held no grudge against them.

He told jurors he had funded his studies with a student loan and occasional handouts from his mother, who works at an estate agency.

Traykov also told the court he had previously suffered from depression and anxiety and dropped out of university to pursue a music career, to his mother's "disappointment".

The unemployed defendant, of Redhill, Surrey, denies four charges of attempted murder, and three alternative charges of wounding with intent and one of attempted wounding with intent.