Burnley Marks and Spencer stabbing trial latest: Injured shopper who slipped in her own blood after knife attack says she believes defendant (58) was 'trying to kill me'

A customer at Burnley's Marks and Spencer store said a knifeman who attacked her would have continued to stab her if his weapon had not jammed in her handbag strap, a jury has heard.

By Susan Plunkett
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 9:30 am

Munawar Hussain (58) had just stabbed the female store manager in the neck before he launched himself at the shopper on the morning of December 2nd, 2020.

The defendant later said he carried out the attacks in Burnley because he believed the retailer funded Israel in what he described as its "persecution" of Palestine.

The customer told police she was buying Christmas gifts for her family when she heard a scream and then saw a woman run towards her with an elderly Asian man chasing.

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A customer at Burnley's Marks and Spencer store said a knifeman would have continued to stab her if his weapon had not jammed in her handbag strap, a jury has heard.

She said: "I sort of froze and I was trying to register what was going on. Before I saw the knife I thought at first she was a shoplifter.

"Within seconds he had turned and I felt something go into my arm. It was a stinging sensation. I thought, 'has he just stabbed me?' "

The injured shopper slipped in her own blood and a struggle ensued as she got off the floor. She said she then felt 'something on her back' before her assailant ran off.

It was only when she was sat down and being tended to by store staff that she realised a knife blade was embedded in the leather strap of her bag over her right shoulder.

She said: "If he had the knife I am convinced he would have used it again. I think he was trying to kill me.

"His eyes were dark and determined. It was like a stare, a penetrating stare."

The store manager also told police she too thought face-mask-wearing Hussain was trying to kill her as his eyes 'looked pure evil.'

She went on: "If I had fallen, he would have killed me. I just thought, 'he is not having me, I've got three kids and he is not taking me away from my kids.'

"I'm lucky to be here."

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court have heard the manager suffered a collapsed lung and nerve damage from the blow which passed near to her jugular vein. The customer sustained two wounds to her left forearm.

Hussain was detained outside by a store detective and following his arrest, a note, written in Urdu, was discovered on him which read: "O Israel, you are inflicting atrocities on Palestinians and Marks Spencer helping you financially."

He later told police that had his knife not broken he would have gone on to kill others. He said that he expected that the police might kill him and he intended to be a martyr.

Jurors were told Hussain, formerly of Murray Street, Burnley, does not dispute stabbing the women and the issue for them to decide was what his intent was at the time.

Hussain, currently remanded at Guild Lodge psychiatric unit in Preston, denies two counts of attempted murder.

He has also pleaded not guilty to two alternative counts of wounding with intent.

The trial resumes tomorrow.