SMILING woman arranged meeting with MP Steve Timms “specifically and solely” to knife him, court hears
She smiled as she twice plunged knife into 54-year-old ex Treasury Minister in protest over his vote to go to war on Iraq
A “SMILING” woman stabbed and tried to kill East Ham MP Stephen Timms to punish him for voting in favour of the Iraq war, the Old Bailey heard today.
Roshonara Choudhry, 21, (pictured from an earlier hearing) approached Mr Timms, 54, at a constituency surgery days after this year’s General Election and wounded him twice in the stomach as he stood up to shake her hand.
The former Treasury Minister needed surgery at The Royal London Hospital after the incident at Beckton Globe centre on May 14, but has now made a full recovery.
Choudhry was detained at the scene by a security guard and Mr Timms’s assistant.
She was armed with a vegetable knife with a three-inch blade and had a second five-inch knife in her bag.
Choudhry had made an appointment to see Mr Timms at his twice-monthly surgery “specifically and solely for the purposes of attacking him”, said prosecutor William Boyce QC.
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She was summoned to his desk shortly after 3pm, but instead of sitting down with Mr Timms she walked around the desk and extended her left hand to greet him.
As she did so she produced a knife in her right hand and stabbed him in the abdomen. She then thrust the knife at him again as he tried to ward off the blow.
She told police she “wanted revenge for the people of Iraq”.
Choudhry, of Central Park Road, East Ham, is accused of attempted murder and two counts of possessing knives, but has refused to attend court as she does not “recognise the jurisdiction”. Not guilty pleas have been entered on her behalf.
She has instructed her defence team not to challenge the evidence against her.
Mr Boyce told jurors: “The defendant has made full admissions in interview which you will hear.
“She gave her intention as an intention to kill Mr Timms and nothing less and she was acting in that way as an act of punishment towards him for his parliamentary vote in favour of the war in Iraq.
Giving evidence The MP said Choudhry had looked friendly and was smiling as she approached his desk.
“I thought she must have been coming to shake my hand,” he said. “She made as if she was coming to do that. She looked friendly, she was smiling if I remember rightly.
“I was a little puzzled because a Muslim woman dressed in that way would not normally be willing to shake a man’s hand, still less to take the initiative to do so.”
Asked what happened next, he replied: “She lunged at me with her right hand.
“I think I knew I had been stabbed although I didn’t feel anything and I cannot recall actually seeing a knife.
“But I think I said she had a knife or words to that affect.
“She stabbed me twice and after that, I did retreat. I still wasn’t absolutely certain I had been stabbed. I retreated to the gent’s toilets which were behind where I was standing, lifted up my jumper and realised there was quite a lot of blood there, so I knew I had been stabbed.”
Jurors were shown the blood-stained kitchen knife which was recovered from the scene, along with the second blade which was wrapped in a cloth inside her bag.
They also looked at CCTV stills taken from inside the Globe, which showed Choudhry approaching Mr Timms and the attack taking place.
Choudhry was apprehended. Arrested she was taken to Forest Gate police station, but declined the services of a solicitor before being interviewed.
“She said she stabbed Mr Timms because he had voted for the Iraq war. She said she had made the appointment to see him at 2.45pm specifically and solely for the purposes of attacking him,” said Mr Boyce.
“She had brought with her two knives instead of one in case one broke during the course of the attack.”
When asked what she was trying to do, Choudhry replied: “I was trying to kill him.”
She later added: “I wasn’t going to stop stabbing him until someone made me.”
Jurors were told Choudhry had advised her barrister Jeremy Dein QC that she did not wish him to challenge the evidence against her, nor did she want to give evidence.
Mr Boyce said the defence would “not be inviting to acquit her on the evidence of the facts”.
“Nor is she suffering from any mental illness,” he added.
Earlier, after the jury had been sworn in to try Choudhry the judge Mr Justice Cooke told them that the defendant’s absence did not prove her guilt.
“You will no doubt have noticed that the dock is empty. The defendant Miss Choudhry is not here by her own choice. She was remanded in custody after being charged but has chosen not to attend her trial, that is her right.
Married Mr Timms has the safest Labour seat in the country. In May’s election he won more than 70 per cent of the vote and has a majority of more than 27,800, the largest in the House of Commons.
He has held the seat since 1994.
Choudhry denies attempted murder and two counts of possessing knives.
The trial continues.