A teenager has admitted killing an American citizen and injuring five other people in a knife attack in central London.
Zakaria Bulhan, 19, stabbed to death retired teacher Darlene Horton, 64, last August just hours before she was due to fly home to Tallahassee, Florida. Ms Horton had been visiting London with her university professor husband, Richard Wagner.
Bulhan, a Norwegian national of Somali origin who was living in London, denied murdering Ms Horton, a mother-of-two, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility today. Prosecutors have accepted that Bulhan, a schizophrenic, was experiencing a psychotic episode at the time of the attack.
Bulhan struck just after 10.30pm on August 3 in Russell Square, an area popular with tourists which is near the British Museum. He was seen “moving erratically” and holding a large kitchen knife.
“As he passed the members of the public, he would veer across the pavement towards them,” said prosecutor Mark Heywood QC at a court hearing this morning.
“Without warning or provocation, the man stabbed six people in quick succession, saying nothing to any of them, moving on after each stabbing towards his next victim. Of the six persons stabbed by the defendant, five suffered non-fatal injuries and have made good recoveries. However, one, Darlene Horton, an American citizen who was a visitor to the UK at the time, received a stab wound to the back which penetrated her left lung and her heart, a devastating injury from which she died at the scene.”
Bulhan, who moved to the UK in 2002, denied the attempted murder of Martin Hoenisch, 59, Lillie Selletin, 23, David Imber, 40, Bernard Hepplewhite, 65, and Yovel Lewkowski, 18. He pleaded guilty to wounding with intent after injuring them in the same attack.
Having been assessed by psychiatrists following his arrest on the night of the attack, he was held at top security hospital, Broadmoor, where doctors passed him as fit to enter pleas.
After the charge of murder was put to him, Bulhan responded: “Not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.”
He then pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder before pleading guilty to the alternative charges of wounding with intent.
Mr Justice Spencer said he will sentence Bulhan today or tomorrow.