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, 10:25
Ripper Museum opening soon in Cable Street

Protesters gather this-evening outside 12 Cable Street near the Tower of London to picket against today’s opening of the Jack the Ripper Museum.

Mon, 22:44
Youngsters arriving for the world's greates festival of cycling involving 95,000 riders from Olympic champs to a free family fun ride-riding on London's closed roads [photo: Thomas Lovelock]

Hundreds of families from all over East London got on their bikes for Saturday’s traffic-free ride from Mile End to the City and back.

Sunday, August 2, 2015
Tower Hamlets Town Hall and (inset) Mayor John Biggs

A new strategy to tackle extremist radicalisation, child sex abuse and youth violence on the streets of London’s East End is being set up by Tower Hamlets Council.

Friday, July 31, 2015
Tower Hamlets Town Hall and (inset) Mayor Biggs

The launch of the controversial new Jack the Ripper museum opening near the Tower of London on Tuesday is being boycotted by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets because he says his local authority was “misled” in the original planning application.

Most read news

Competitions

You could be zooming around a track of your choice!

Are you a competitive adrenaline junkie with a need for speed? Or looking for a fun family day out?

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Digital Edition

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


Our trusted business finder