A man who hacked at a police officer by a two-foot machete has been cleared of attempted manslaughter and possession of an attacking weapon. Muhammad Rodwan struck PC Stuart Outten six times about the head when he was drawn over for driving his van without insurance last year.
PC Outten, 29, was named ‘Britain’s hardest cop’ after he managed to Taser Rodwan, 56, despite suffering horrific wounds.
Rodwan, who has previous convictions for molestation and other machete attacks, insisted he was acting in self-defense, saying ‘my life is worth more than his life.’
Graphic bodycam footage revealed him punching PC Outten before grabbing the machete and starting his attack.
Another video recording reveals the officer – with deep gashes to his head and arm, and broken fingers – screaming to a passerby to pass his radio so he could call for an ambulance. Only an hour before the incident, Pc Outten had texted his sweetheart, who is also an officer: ‘Right, I’m off to make trouble. Stay safe, my love.’ Later, he sent her the rueful update that it was ‘a bit more problem’ than he had bargained for.
Despite the horrific nature of the assault, a jury found Rodwan cleared him of attempting to kill the officer, rather of finding him guilty of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. PC Outten said he was very lucky to be alive, figuring that he was thankful that his head was hard enough to withstand the attack.
He said: ‘On that evening, I was doing my job, doing what I’m prepared to do, but more importantly, making sure I didn’t fall because that was a distinct possibility had the assault carried on.
‘Once he’s begun hitting me in the head with the machete, then I realized it was escalating very soon, and I was having to now fight for my life.
‘I recollect specifically as I was falling to the floor, having fired the first shot and pointing for the second (thinking) that if this doesn’t work, this might be it. But fortunately, the Taser worked. It did its job.’ Dismissing his ‘hardest cop’ title, Pc Outten said: ‘Luckily I have the size and form that I can take a couple of machetes blows to the head – apparently – and I can act later.’
Following today’s judgment, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker paid tribute to Pc Outten and said there had been a rise in assaults on police personnel in the capital, with 16 recorded every day.
Among January and December last year, 5,900 officers and staff were assaulted. Rodwan previously attacked two men with a machete in the room of his flat in east London in 1996. Then known as Rodney Reid, he was imprisoned for nine years for wounding with intent. He was jailed for three years for molestation in 1983.