A man has been charged today (23 March 2023) with two counts of attempted murder following incidents near mosques in West Ealing and Birmingham.
Mohammed Abbkr, 28, from Edgbaston in Birmingham will also appear in custody at Coventry Magistrates’ Court today.
Abbkr is alleged to have sprayed a substance on two men and set it alight in separate incidents in West Ealing and Handsworth on 27 February 2023 and 20 March 2023.
Police arrested Abbkr on 21 March 2023 in Birmingham and he was linked to an incident in West Ealing where an 82-year-old man was set alight in Singapore Road on 27 February 2023 after he was leaving West London Islamic Centre.
Police have said that following joint enquiries, the incident in Birmingham and the incident in West Ealing where a man was set on fire have now been linked.
Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s West Area Command are working closely with West Midlands Police colleagues to establish the full circumstances.
Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson of the Met’s West Area Command said: “We completely understand the shock that resonated throughout the community following this incident. Despite a man having been arrested, we continue to be vigilant and urge local people to do the same. Highly visible patrols around Singapore Road will continue in the coming days to provide reassurance to local people and I urge anyone who is concerned to approach officers.”
The incident in West Ealing occurred at around 8pm on 27 February 2023.
According to reports, the suspect engaged the victim in conversation as they both left the West London Islamic Centre. They had been speaking for around five minutes when the suspect doused the victim in a liquid, believed to be petrol, before setting him alight using a lighter. The suspect then walked away.
The victim was taken to hospital where he received treatment for severe burns to his face and arms.
Counter Terrorism Policing are supporting the investigations. However, at this stage, officers are keeping an open mind as to any potential motivation.
Anyone with information who has not yet spoken with police should call 101 quoting CAD 6422/27Feb. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.