Handyman who hacked police officer's head with machete jailed for 16 years

Will Taylor
News Reporter

A handyman who hacked at a Met police officer’s head until his skull was exposed in a “brutal and shocking” attack has been jailed for 16 years.

Muhammad Rodwan was found guilty yesterday of wounding PC Stuart Outten when the officer stopped his van in Leyton in August last year, believing 56-year-old Rodwan was driving without insurance.

Rodwan retrieved a machete and struck at PC Outten’s head six times with the two-foot rusty blade in a brutal attack before the bloodied officer managed to Taser him.

Sentencing, Mrs Justice Carr said: “This was a brutal and shocking attack with a machete on a police officer carrying out his duties during what should have been a routine stop of a van to investigate whether you were properly insured.

Rodwan, left, was found guilty yesterday for wounding PC Outten in an attack, centre. The officer spoke yesterday (right). (PA Images)

“I’m sure the violence started with you when Pc Outten blocked your attempt to close your door.

“I reject the unattractive submission that he was using excessive force in circumstances when you had assaulted him and forcibly resisted arrest.”

She said Rodwan had picked up the machete “in a rage” when he could have stopped resisting arrest, and praised PC Outten for his “considerable presence of mind and fortitude” for Tasering Rodwan despite his injuries.

Rodwan had told police he believed his life was worth more than PC Outten’s, which the judge said “typified” Rodwan’s “belligerent arrogance”, and said she had detected “not a shred of remorse or insight on your part”.

PC Stuart Outten suffered blows to the head from a machete. (PA Images)
The 2ft long rusty machete. (PA Images)

Rodwan was jailed for 16 years and will spend an extra three on licence.

A jury found Rodwan guilty of wounding PC Outten with intent to do grievous bodily harm but cleared him of attempted murder and possessing an offensive weapon.

Rodwan, who has previous convictions for rape and two machete attacks, had said during his trial that he had become agitated after being pulled over because he was “always being stopped”.

During the struggle with PC Outten, seven of his dreadlocks were pulled out and he described PC Outten as squeezing his throat so hard “it felt like it was popping”.

He then went to get a machete from his van but told jurors he could not remember how many times he hit PC Outten with it.

Rodwan was spoken to police (left) before slashing at officers with a machete (right). (PA Photo)
Phone footage shows Rodwan falling after PC Outten Tasered him. (PA Photo)

During the trial, PC Outten - who was dubbed “Britain’s hardest cop” in the press - said he used his leg to stop Rodwan closing the van door.

He described Rodwan as punching him twice, and said he grabbed the handyman by his belt and dreadlocks.

He tried to incapacitate Rodwan by grabbing his neck, he said, but Rodwan lunged away and struck him with a machete.

“I then started feeling something sharp being snapped against my head,” he had told jurors.

“Initially I did not see. I was aware something was hitting me on the head but I was still focusing on getting the suspect and removing him from the van.”

Having fallen on his back, he managed to Taser Rodwan after backing away from the van as Rodwan came at him.

PC Outten suffered six wounds to his head, skull fractures, broken fingers and injuries to his arms.

Rodwan said he has used the recently-sharpened blade for a recent gardening job and insisted he had tried to defend himself.

The jury was not told during the trial that Rodwan had previously attacked two men with a machete in the bedroom of his east London flat in 1996.

Then known as Rodney Reid, he was jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court for nine years for wounding with intent.

In 1983, he was jailed at the Old Bailey for three years for rape and in 2008 he received a caution for having cannabis, according to Press Association sources.

At the time of his arrest last year, Rodwan gave a relative’s address in Luton, but went on to tell jurors he slept in his van around Waltham Forest.

Speaking yesterday, PC Outten dismissed the “Britian’s hardest cop” tag and insisted he had just done his job, describing the attack as a “fight for my life”.

“There’s no hatred. He did what he did, he’s now paying the price for it.

“I don’t feel the attack was personal. He was attacking an officer in uniform and I responded as such.”

He added: “Luckily I have the size and build that I can take a couple of machete blows to the head – apparently – and I can act afterwards.”

The Evening Standard has also reported that he is due to marry his girlfriend, who was among the officers who attended the incident after PC Outten was wounded.