Sydney jury convicts machete stabber of terrorist act

Pharmacy student claims a jinn told him to carry out attack; prosecutors say he was a radicalized Islamic State supporter

Illustrative: Police man a checkpoint in the Sydney inner suburb of Surry Hills on July 29, 2017. (AFP Photo/William West)
Illustrative: Police man a checkpoint in the Sydney inner suburb of Surry Hills on July 29, 2017. (AFP Photo/William West)

SYDNEY — A pharmacy student who repeatedly stabbed a passerby with a machete while shouting “I will kill you, you will die” was convicted in a Sydney court on Thursday of carrying out a terrorist act.

Ihsas Khan, 25, had pleaded not guilty in the New South Wales state Supreme Court on the grounds of mental illness when he attacked Wayne Greenhalgh in the Sydney suburb of Minto in 2016.

Khan was found guilty on Thursday during his sixth trial by a jury which rejected his mental illness defense.

Four previous trials were aborted and the fifth jury could not reach a verdict.

Justice Geoffrey Bellew is to hear sentencing submissions on May 23. Khan faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

Greenhalgh received injuries to his right arm, left hand, face and lungs. He was forced to take four months off work.

After he was attacked, Greenhalgh fled to a nearby hair salon for safety while bystanders confronted Khan, who was later tasered by police.

“He got me probably three or four times and I didn’t know what to do,” Greenhalgh later told police from his hospital bed. “There was blood pouring out of everywhere.”

From the dock during one of the trials, Khan told Greenhalgh: “I’m so sorry for what I did to you. You are not the guy I thought you were.”

Prosecutors told the jury Khan was a “self-radicalized extremist Muslim” and Islamic State group supporter.

Khan told a psychiatrist that a jinn, or supernatural being, instructed him to kill someone.

Greenhalgh had been walking home from a store when he passed Khan’s home.

Khan went inside, re-emerged with a backpack and pulled a machete out, which led to Greenhalgh raising his arms to protect himself.

“Luckily I did because the machete was chompin’ into my arms,” he told police.

A neighbor testified that Khan described Greenhalgh’s blood as “beautiful.”

The neighbor also testified that Khan said “These people tried to kill my brothers and sisters in Iraq” and “Kill me, I’m here to die.”

Khan told a psychiatrist he had seen Greenhalgh walking past on the morning of the stabbing before he spent time watching videos of air strikes with children being killed by American forces and gang rapes of Muslim women.

“He wanted to kill someone who he viewed to be anti-Muslim and die himself, to be a martyr,” a psychiatrist who testified for the defense told the court.

“The jinn was instructing him to behave in that alleged behavior,” the psychiatrist added.

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