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Home Breaking A 29-year-old man who stabbed a rough sleeper in the neck has been jailed for life at Southwark Crown Court, after he was found guilty of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a bladed weapon

A 29-year-old man who stabbed a rough sleeper in the neck has been jailed for life at Southwark Crown Court, after he was found guilty of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a bladed weapon

Egidijus Kotovas, 29, of Odvar Solbergs vei, Oslo, Norway, attacked Izet Mehmed, who was homeless at the time and sleeping in a doorway, near Liverpool Street station. Kotovas had been in the UK for three years at the time of his violent assault on Mehmed.

The court sentenced Kotovas to life imprisonment with minimum term of 14 years and 242 days. He will then be subject to licence conditions for the rest of his life.

For the possession of two knives, Kotovas was given nine months for each offence, to be served concurrently. 

In sentencing, the court also took into account the vulnerability of Kovotas’ victim and his previous convictions in Lithuania.

At around 4:10am on 24 August 2022, Mehmed was sleeping on cardboard in a doorway in Blomfield Street near Liverpool Street station when, without any warning, Kotovas stabbed him in the neck.

The victim stumbled to get help and was found by two uniformed officers, Police Constable Amber Rose Kenny and Police Constable George Williams, lying face down outside a cafe on Bishopsgate, with serious injuries to his neck.

The officers immediately administered first aid before London Ambulance Service and London Air Ambulance arrived at the scene. Mehmed was rushed to the Royal London Hospital with life threatening injuries.

An investigation was immediately launched, led by City of London Police Detective Constable, Dan Lambert.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Halkett, at the City of London Police, said:

“This horrific incident kept me awake, as without doubt had he not been caught, Kovotas would have gone on to attack more vulnerable victims.

“The quick apprehension of Kovotas within 24 hours was down to diligent and meticulous work by our officers. Through DNA profiling and an overwhelming amount of evidence, we were able to secure this conviction and put this highly dangerous individual behind bars.

“This was a savage and unprovoked attack on a vulnerable member of the public. I would also like to praise the quick response from our officers first at the scene, who administered immediate first aid, preventing this from being a murder investigation.”

Before fleeing the scene, Kotovas was seen on CCTV wiping the blade of his knife on some cardboard nearby. Just minutes after the assault, he returned to where the attack happened on his bike and went on to cycle out of the City.

Within 24 hours of the attack, officers arrested Kotovas when he was spotted at around 2:00am on Thursday 25 August 2022, once again at the scene of the crime on his bike and was then seen cycling north on Bishopsgate. Kotovas was charged the following day.

Forensic analysis found DNA of the victim on knives discovered inside Kotovas’ rucksack. Combined with security and CCTV footage analysis, medical and victim statements and interviews, the evidence helped investigators bring the attacker to justice.

Mehmed still suffers physically from the attack and is now living in permanent accommodation.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Community and Children’s Services Committee, Ruby Syed, said:

“This was a frightening attack on someone who was already vulnerable.

“I am however pleased that the victim has made a full recovery and that the offender has been sentenced.

“We are absolutely committed to addressing the root causes of homelessness and supporting rough sleepers into safe, long-term accommodation.

“Our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Sub Committee is driving this work, and we aim to ensure that people who arrive on City streets spend no more than one night out.”

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