Knifeman ordered Bristol women to take off hijabs

A man racially abused a Muslim woman and demanded she took off her hijab before putting a kitchen knife to her throat. David Norris, 39, approached Farduja Jama who was with her eight-year-old son in Morton Street, Barton Hill at 9am.

Drunken Norris, who was brandishing a six-inch knife told her: “Take the hijab off. This is England, you are not allowed. Take the hijab off before I stab you.” He then pointed the blade at Miss Jama and put the blade to the left and right of her throat.

Later the same day Norris approached Iqbal Osman who was watching her four-year-old play in Barton Hill Urban Park. He asked her why she was wearing too many clothes and accused Muslims of “taking over” his country. He again brandished the knife before leaving.

At Bristol Crown Court Norris, who had been on remand for seven months awaiting sentence, had admitted two counts of religiously aggravated harassment and two counts of possession of a bladed article.

Recorder Nicholas Rowland made Norris, of Canterbury Street, Barton Hill, subject to a two-year community order with two years supervision and a six-month alcohol treatment requirement.

Explaining his decision he said: “The reason I am doing this is so that any sort of repetition of his behaviour or if he fails to comply with the order he will be brought back before this court and the court’s hands will not be tied.”

Mr Rowland explained that if he gave Norris a suspended prison sentence and he breached it the time he had spent on remand would count towards his time in jail. On a community order he could jail him for a breach and Norris would have to serve the full term.

Prosecuting, Sam Jones said Norris had committed all offences on September 3 last year.

“Miss Jama was walking to a cash dispenser on Church Road with her eight-year-old child,” he said. “She heard shouting from behind in a loud and angry voice. She then heard ‘Off with the hijab.’

“She was then approached by the defendant who was holding a knife in his hand. He said ‘Take the hijab off. This is England, you are not allowed. Take the hijab off before I stab you.'”

“He then pointed the blade of his knife and put it the left and right side of her neck. It was witnessed by a man in a car who took a photo of the defendant.

“At 12pm a Mrs Osman was watching her four-year old play in the Urban Park in Barton Hill. The defendant approached her and asked why she was wearing too many clothes and why she had ‘that thing’ over her head. He then swore and said: ‘Muslim people, you are taking over my country’. He produced a knife from within his coat. She grabbed her bag and her child and left quickly.”

When Norris was arrested he made worrying comments to officers including: “I’m a killer, that is what I do.”

Victim impact statements from both women outlined how they now felt anxious when they left home.

The court heard that Norris had a previous conviction for assault and a public order offence.

Robin Rowland, defending, said Norris had minor mental health issues that when combined with drinking heavily led to unfortunate offending. He said his client accepted he had a problem with alcohol and wanted to address the issues.

“He does not remember the incident but accepts that it must have been terrifying,” Mr Rowland said. “He deeply regrets his actions.”

Bristol Post, 16 April 2013