Ex-Guantanamo detainee from East Ham attacked traffic warden

A one-armed former Guantanamo Bay detainee who attacked a traffic warden who he thought was spying on him has been spared imprisonment.

Tarek Dergoul, of Holland Road, East Ham, was in a bicycle shop when he spotted warden John Onywera issuing a ticket.

The 33-year-old, who accuses his former American captors of beatings and intimidation, thought the warden was snooping on him when he took the pictures of his illegally parked car.

Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court was shown CCTV footage of Dergoul confronting Mr Onywera on the kerbside before charging at him in the middle of the road, grabbing him and attempting a judo-style trip.

Assisted by an unidentified accomplice, Dergoul pursued the warden to the other side of the road in Camden and started kicking his legs.


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Forced to the ground under a hail of blows from the pair, the civil enforcement officer was forced to protect his camera and notebook evidence during the assault on August 6 last year.

Mr Onywera said: “First of all they said they were looking for change.

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“But I told them I had already issued the penalty.

“I continued taking pictures to prove the car was parked. But when I crossed the road to take pictures, they came charging, saying I was taking pictures of them.

‘Throwing punches’

“He tried to trip me three times and then he was kicking and throwing punches.

“On the other side of the road they were both attacking me. I had injuries to my nose and jaw.

“I lost control and I fell to the ground and one of them sat on me and continued hitting me. I wasn’t sure who was attacking me.”

From the dock Dergoul interrupted the testimony, shouting: “Why did you aggravate the situation taking the pictures?”

He was found guilty of assault by beating.

Judge Nina Tempia said: “The traffic warden was acting correctly in taking the photo of the car. This was an assault on a public servant carrying out his duties.”

Dergoul was sentenced to a 12-month community order, which includes a mental health requirement and supervision order, both for six months.

He was ordered to pay the traffic warden compensation of �30, which will be deducted from his benefits at the rate of �10 a fortnight.

Dergoul was detained in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.

He says he was trying to deal in cheap property when he lost an arm in an explosion. He was sent to Guantanamo, from where he was freed in March 2004.

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