A MENTALLY-ill “fantasist” who lay in wait for a woman and then launched a horrific broad daylight knife attack on her in a Bradford street has been jailed for more than eight years.

A court heard on Friday how Mohammed Ali, also known as Paul Mennell, had been fixated with the complainant and after the attack in August 2022, he told police: ”If I can’t have her no one can. I know I’m going away for a long time. I’m sorry.”

Bradford Crown Court heard that Ali, 59, had been waiting near the woman’s home in Manningham that morning and CCTV footage showed him confronting his victim in the street, punching her, and dragging her towards a wheelie bin from where he retrieved a hidden bread knife with serrated blade.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The police scene on Cornwall Road, ManninghamThe police scene on Cornwall Road, Manningham

Prosecutor Laura Addy said Ali, who had previous convictions for possession of knives, put the knife to her throat and dragged her across the road as the woman begged him to stop.

Miss Addy said the CCTV then showed Ali pushing the complainant into a six-foot deep ditch on a nearby building site before jumping down into it as she tried to get up.

The complainant suffered cuts to her fingers as she tried to defend herself from blows with the knife and as she begged Ali not to kill her he stabbed her in the back causing a large deep wound.

Miss Addy said during the incident Ali could be seen thrusting the knife towards his victim at least 10 times and the attack only stopped when nearby workmen came to her aid.

The CCTV footage showed one workman using a length of fencing pole to hit Ali before he eventually fled the scene.

Shortly after the attack Ali, of Sunbridge Road, Bradford, made two 999 calls in which he admitted stabbing the woman and asking if she was still alive or not.

He was arrested a few hours after the attack and told police where to find the discarded knife.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The case was heard at Bradford Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

In December last year, Ali was found not guilty by a jury on a charge of attempted murder, but before his trial got underway he had admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an offensive weapon.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Rose took into account Ali’s long-standing mental health issues, but he concluded that an extended sentence was necessary to protect the public from serious harm in the future.

Ali was sentenced to eight years and eight months in jail, but the judge also imposed an extended licence period of five years under the dangerous offender provisions.

In her victim impact statement, the complainant described how she had suffered nightmares since the attack and her injuries reminded her of what happened every day.

She said she had to move house because she didn’t feel safe anymore where she lived and was worried that Ali would find her when he was released.

As part of the sentence, Judge Rose imposed an indefinite restraining order that bans Ali from contacting the woman or going to any address where she lives.

The judge also commended the actions of workman David Gill for intervening during the attack.

“David Gill showed great courage and in my view prevented things from being considerably worse,” said the judge.

Barrister Abdul Iqbal KC, for Ali, conceded that his client was a fantasist who believed he was in a relationship with the complainant when he was not.

But he submitted that Ali’s fixation must have been contributed to by his mental health disorder.

Mr Iqbal said references made by Ali to the author of his pre-sentence report about his involvement in “the security services” and incidents in Singapore and Indonesia were “pure fantasy”.

Mr Iqbal highlighted the fact that Ali had no previous convictions for using violence and said his client had expressed remorse after the attack.

Judge Rose said the fact that Ali had hidden the knife in the wheelie bin indicated that he planned the attack on the complainant and it had not been impulsive.

He said she had been trapped and vulnerable after Ali threw her into the ditch and he had made repeated attempts to stab her as she bravely tried to defend herself.

“It was only the intervention by the workmen that brought the attack to an end,” said Judge Rose.

“Had they not done so the outcome might have been different.”

He said the injuries suffered were grave and but for a matter of millimetres they could have been life-threatening or life-changing.