Search

Police deny prior knowledge of teacher face slash plot

15:31 23 February 2011

Teacher Gary Smith, 37, before the attack

Teacher Gary Smith, 37, before the attack

Archant

POLICE said they had no prior knowledge of a gang’s plot to slash the face of an East End teacher because he was holding lessons in religion that Muslim girls attended.

Gary Smith, head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls’ School in Bow, was pounced on by four thugs armed with a knife, an iron rod and a block of cement in Mile End on July 12 last year.

Detectives surveilling the men, Akmol Hussein, 26, Sheikh Rashid, 27, Azad Hussain, 25, and Simon Alam, 19, had gathered evidence that showed a religious motive for the attack.

But they have rebuffed newspaper reports which suggested they knew an attack on Mr Smith, who suffered a fractured skull, was imminent.

The four men pleaded guilty to the assault and are now facing jail.

Hussein of Turin Street, Bethnal Green, Rashid, of Deancross Street, Shadwell, Hussain, of Presom Street, Wapping and Alam, of Frostic Walk, Whitechapel, have been remanded in custody until sentencing.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse said during a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday that there was a clear religious motive for the attack.

Mr Smith, 37, had three operations to repair the damage to his face after the assault on Burdett Road.

His mother, Heather Smith said she did not recognise him because his injuries were so severe.

Mr Smith told the Advertiser shortly after the attack: “I wouldn’t want anybody else to suffer what I went through. I survived but somebody else might not.”

A religious tolerance group has since spoken out on the attack.

Reverend Alan Green, chair of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum, said: “I condemn such misguided violence and reaffirm our common commitment to the values of peace, equality and mutual respect. The actions of these young men represent neither Muslims nor the vast majority of people of Tower Hamlets.”

The men were due to stand trial but all pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:56
Muslim mothers against Isis extremism making a stand in London's East End

Muslim women have come together to “make a stand” in London’s East End against Isis and fight radicalisation in the community, after four schoolgirls fled top Syria.

Yesterday, 16:09
Volunteers clearing litter by the railway arches at Bethnal Green's Fleet Street Hill

Volunteers were busy tidying up the back streets under the railway arches where rubbish is always being dumped.

Yesterday, 14:32
Waiting to be rehoused by the council... a firecrest snapped by birdspotter DavidDarrell-Lambert at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on March 4

Council housing is now being created in London’s East End—for the birds.

Yesterday, 11:19
Richard Long's first show at Whitechapel in 1971 and [inset] today at 70, presented Gallery's Art Icon award

Artist Richard Long has been awarded the 2015 Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon at a gala dinner honouring his lifetime achievement in sculpture, performance and photography.

Most read news

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Funky adidias iPhone cases up for grabs!

We’ve teamed up with adidas Originals to give away four iPhone 5/5s cases.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder