A man who stabbed a teenage university student because he ‘wanted to be deported from the UK’ has been jailed for six years.
Ellis Wheeler was left fighting for his life after Rebaz Mohammed, an Iraqi immigrant who came to the UK illegally, attacked him as he was walking through a park on his way back from the gym.
CCTV footage of the incident showed Mohammed talking to the 18-year-old and asking him if he knew kickboxing.
Mohammed then pulled a kitchen knife from his coat and lunged at Wheeler.
Wheeler managed to run away and was rescued by a “heroic” friend who put pressure on his wound and called an ambulance.
He was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery for a collapsed lung.
Mohammed, who initially came to the UK on a boat illegally, was arrested at the scene and told police he had attacked his victim so he could be sent home to Iraq.
The 28-year-old, who has previously served a prison term, appeared at Southampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing a knife blade.
He was sentenced to six years imprisonment with a four-year extended licence following the ‘indiscriminate’ attack in Hoglands Park, Southampton, last December.
The court heard how his victim, a first-year Solent University student, missed his exams and still struggles to sleep as he is dogged by anxiety.
Andrew Houston, prosecuting, said Mohammed knew he had to do something to be deported and had spoken to people who knew the immigration system.
He had previously been cautioned for criminal damage and battery and in May 2022, was jailed for 12 weeks for racially-aggravated harassment and stalking.
Richard Tutt, defending, said that Mohammed, who lived in a hotel in Bournemouth, Dorset, had been “making what efforts he could to be deported” but had no work and no money.
Tutt said: “He believed, from what he had been told, that he needed to commit an offence that was serious enough.
“He presents as a very naive person. He has experienced remorse, or at least sorrow.”
Sentencing Mohammed, Judge Brian Forster KC berated him for the attack to “achieve his own end”.
He said: “When anyone carries out an attack with a knife it is down to chance.
“This was an indiscriminate attack. Any member of our community could have been the victim.
“You were willing to inflict a serious injury with a weapon to achieve your own end. You could have killed the victim.”
Commending the victim’s friend, the judge said he “may have saved [his] life” and awarded him £250.
The government has promised to stop illegal boat crossings which Mohammed used to get in the country.
In the latest policy announced by prime minister Rishi Sunak earlier this week the government plans to detain anyone who crosses into the country illegal and deport them.
They will then be banned from applying for asylum in the UK for the rest of their life.
The policy has been fiercely criticised by Labour and refugee charities, as well as the UN’s refugee agency for being unworkable and unethical.
Labour has said the government is “ramping up the rhetoric on refugees” and says the plan is unworkable.
Critics have pointed out it is already a glacially slow process to deport someone and say the new detention centres will fill up rapidly.