Black-clad attacker detained indefinitely for stabbing social worker eight times

A black-clad man who ambushed a social worker and stabbed him eight times has been locked up indefinitely.

Sulai Man, 35, set upon Themba Nkomo, 61, with two penknives as the Haringey Council worker attempted to carry out welfare checks on three children.

Police had forced their way into a flat in Wood Green, north London, on the evening of August 6 2021 before Man launched his attack on Mr Nkomo after hiding in a communal area.

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

The social worker had requested police support in light of ongoing difficulties in contacting the family.

In his defence, the defendant claimed that even though he was not living at the address at the time, he was acting in the occupants’ defence.

Following an Old Bailey trial last October, he was found guilty of attempted murder and attempting to wound Pc Turpin and Pc Smith.

On Monday, Judge Michael Topolski said doctors had diagnosed the defendant with schizophrenia, with relapse and remitted symptoms.

Since the attack, Mr Nkomo was left feeling “vulnerable” and “deeply traumatised” and had decided not to return to social work, the judge said.

Pc Turpin had been forced to take months off work as he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the attack.

Judge Topolski said: “The social worker and the police officer’s statements are compelling and timely reminders how much we expect of the police and other professionals such as social workers whose public facing role find them on occasions confronted by sudden, dangerous or even life threatening events which can have such a considerable impact on them and their lives in and out of their chosen fields of work.”

The judge said he regarded the defendant as posing a danger to the public.

He said: “The defendant carried out a planned and potentially lethal attack upon an unsuspecting social worker and then two police officers.

“The jury’s verdict confirmed that in attacking Mr Nkomo the defendant intended to kill him and cause serious harm to the police officers if he had been able to do so.

“It was pure chance that one of the eight wounds inflicted with a multi tool knife did not cause far more serious injury to Mr Nkomo.

“In my judgment this attack would not have occurred had the defendant not been suffering from a pre-existing, prolonged, delusional, untreated mental disorder.”

The judge ordered the defendant be detained in hospital indefinitely.

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