A British man who tried to find and kill Muslims with a 10-inch knife has been put behind bars for two years and three months, a police statement said Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Mickey Sage pleaded guilty to a single count of threatening a person with a knife in a public place and accepted that the incident was religiously aggravated.
Sage stopped and asked people with the large knife in his hand if they were Muslim in the early hours of June 7, days before a “terror” attack killed a Muslim worshipper near Finsbury Park.
Police recovered Sage’s knife, which he hid, with the help of the public after stopping him, following reports of a male threatening people on the street.
Sage was arrested near Camberwell Green, southeast London, for possession of an offensive weapon and told an arresting officer, “It was my knife and I was out to kill a Muslim.”
“He made a number of Islamophobic comments en route to custody and when questioned he admitted he was out that night to try and find a Muslim to stab,” the statement said.
“He would be a martyr for England and stab an imam in the neck,” he told the police. “Sage set out with a large knife with the clear intention to find Muslims to stab. Hate crime like this has no place in any society,” Samuel Cafferty, a police detective said.
“Sage poses a very clear and present danger to members of the public, particularly the Muslim community and I’m pleased that he now has plenty of time to consider his actions,” he added.
“The Met have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and the hidden nature of this crime, which remains largely under-reported,” the statement added.
A surge in reports of hate crimes followed Britain’s EU referendum in June 2016, while official police figures said there was another spike around the “terrorist attacks” that hit the UK earlier this year.
Data from British police forces across the country recently said officers recorded 110 hate crimes directed at mosques between March and July this year alone, up from just 47 over the same period in 2016.
In one of the worst incidents targeting Muslims this year, Makram Ali, 51, died in the Finsbury Park Muslim Welfare Centre attack in June when a car rammed worshippers who were leaving Ramadan prayers. Darren Osborne, 47, is alleged to have driven the van into worshippers outside the Islamic centre in north London.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack as “sickening” and “insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life”.