Social worker repeatedly stabbed as he attended children’s welfare check, court told

A social worker was repeatedly stabbed by a man armed with two pocket knives as he attempted to carry out welfare checks on three children, a court has heard.

Themba Nkomo, 61, was allegedly set upon by 34-year-old Sulai Man after officers forced their way into his flat in Wood Green, north London, on the evening of August 6 last year.

Mr Nkomo suffered eight stab wounds and Pc David Turpin and Pc Luke Smith, were also attacked when they went to his aid, jurors were told.

Sulai Man is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of trying to kill Mr Nkomo and assaulting the two officers with Swiss Army-style knives.

Prosecutor Simon Ray said there was a history of Social Services contact with the family, and the last visit by a Haringey Council social worker was two months earlier.

On the day of the attack, Mr Nkomo had requested police assistance to carry out the welfare checks.

Officers used bolt cutters to cut chains on the door blocking access to the flat.

Meanwhile, the defendant hid around the corner in the communal area before launching his attack, jurors were told.

Mr Ray said: “Mr Sulai Man ran at Mr Nkomo and stabbed him in the chest.

“Mr Nkomo fell to the floor. Mr Sulai Man continued to stab him whilst he was on the floor.

“The police heard Mr Nkomo shout and immediately ran out to help.

“The defendant ran away and Pc Turpin followed. The defendant turned and launched himself at Pc Turpin.”

Jurors heard the officer initially felt what he thought was a punch.

He lost his balance and fell to the floor, using his legs to try to fend off the defendant, the court heard.

Pc Smith, who was wearing a stab vest, then tackled the knifeman on the floor where he attempted to strike out at his torso, it was alleged.

The defendant, who wore all black with a mask covering his face, was quickly restrained on the ground and arrested.

Jurors were shown footage of the incident, from officers’ body-worn cameras, CCTV, a neighbour’s doorbell cam and a mobile phone.

In the video, the defendant was heard to say words to the effect that he was protecting his family and questioning why the police were involved in a “civil matter”.

Before medics arrived, Pc Turpin is heard to ask a colleague: “Sorry fella, can you have a look and see if I have been stabbed or not?”

He is then heard to confirm: “Officers have been nicked by this knife. I’m one of them. It’s just a little nick not a stab.

“He’s jumped me and cut me under the arm with his knife.”

Mr Nkomo had suffered multiple stab injuries, including three penetrating wounds to his torso, jurors were told.

Mr Ray said: “Although the injuries suffered by Mr Nkomo required hospital treatment and have had a detrimental effect, thankfully none of the injuries proved to be life-threatening.

“The prosecution say what is clear is that the defendant was intending to cause much greater harm to the victims.

“The fact the injuries did not result in death can be put down to luck and, in the case of Mr Smith, protection given to him by the stab vest he was wearing.”

Sulai Man, who is also known as Sulai Bukhari, has denied attempted murder and an alternative of wounding Mr Nkomo with intent.

He also denies wounding Pc Turpin with intent and attempting to wound Pc Smith with intent, as well as lesser charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

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