Jilted husband who tried to murder his estranged wife in knife attack outside family court ‘to teach her a lesson’ ahead of their divorce hearing is jailed for 24 years
- Asim Abdulrasul, 47, launched the knife attack in busy Birmingham city centre
- Brave members of the public intervened to help save his victim’s life
- ‘Controlling’ Abdulrasul was ‘consumed with embittered rage’ after rejection
A jilted husband who tried to murder his estranged wife outside a family court ‘to teach her a lesson’ ahead of their divorce hearing has been jailed for 24 years.
Asim Abdulrasul, 47, repeatedly stabbed Wafae Khatab during the frenzied broad daylight attack after ambushing her outside Birmingham Civil and Family Justice Centre.
A court heard the ‘controlling’ thug chased his ex through the busy city centre, before knifing her in the head in front of horrified commuters and shoppers last August.
The attack, which only lasted six seconds, was ended when brave members of the public rushed to Wafae’s aid and dragged her to safety into a café.
Jurors were told how, after being arrested, Abdulrasul laughed and told police: ‘I did it to teach her a lesson.’
Asim Abdulrasul, 47, has been jailed for 24 years for the attempted murder of his estranged wife Wafae Khatab in a knife attack he carried out in broad daylight
Members of the public were shocked by the assault in Birmingham city centre and three have been recognised for bravery by police after intervening to help fend off Abdulrasul
Abdulrasul, from Coventry, denied attempted murder, possessing a knife and coercive and controlling behaviour, but was found guilty after a trial in July.
He has now been jailed for 24 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
Sentencing him, Judge Heidi Kubic said: ‘On 16 August last year you attempted to murder Wafae Khatab in broad daylight in the centre of this city.
‘People were on their way to work.
‘At the time you were consumed with embittered rage because Mrs Khatab had rejected you as a husband and left you some three years ago.
‘You were only prevented from succeeding in this outrageous and frenzied attack by the brave actions of two members of the public.’
The judge described how Abdulrasul had previously controlled what his wife wore and who she socialised with – ahead of attacking Ms Khatab after seeing her talking to a male co-worker in August 2019.
Abdulrasul launched the attack on his wife while waiting outside a family court ahead of a hearing scheduled to discuss their divorce she wanted and he was contesting
The victim was given protection inside a nearby cafe before being taken to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital with multiple stabbing wounds
Ms Kubic said: ‘As a result of that you assaulted her – telling her that she would die here in the UK, and threatened to send her head back to her family in Morocco in a box.
‘She was terrified of you and two days later when she rejected your sexual advances you assaulted her, slapping and kicking her to the abdomen.’
The judge said the victim had fled to a woman’s refuge – even leaving her shoes behind – and later took out a non-molestation order against the defendant.
Ms Kubic added: ‘You no longer knew where she lived and you then launched a smear campaign on the internet, causing enormous embarrassment for her and her parents in Morocco.’
Referring to the attack, she said: ‘CCTV footage clearly shows that from the moment you caught up with her you delivered seven or eight blows towards her head with the knife within just six seconds.
‘In just six seconds you managed to inflict serious injuries.’
Michael Williams, prosecuting, said the pair had met online in 2015 when Ms Wafae was living in Morocco and Abdulrasul in Coventry.
They married in Morocco and came back to Britain in 2018.
The attempted murder happened in the city’s Temple Row, the central base for court buildings as well as being close to Birmingham’s busiest shopping district
During the relationship Abdulrasul was violent towards her before contesting divorce proceedings she began in 2021.
She later started a relationship with another man and became pregnant.
There was an arrangement for the married couple to go to the family courts in Birmingham city centre for their divorce settlement on August 16 last year.
Mr Williams told how CCTV captured Abdulrasul hanging around near the courts, ‘waiting 40 minutes to attack Mrs Khatab before she went in’ before chasing her.
He added: ‘You see the knife in his hand – you see the ferocity of the attack upon her, which only ended because people bravely intervened.
‘Mrs Khatab was pulled into a café by the shop owner and the door was held shut by him and another.’
Mr Williams told the court other members of the public threw tables and an advertising sign at Abdulrasul, making him drop his knife.
The defendant then picked up the blade and walked off, while the emergency services were called, before being arrested by armed police.
West Midlands Police described Abdulrasul’s actions as ‘a savage attack’ while praising members of the public who intervened in Temple Row to help save his victim’s life
The victim, taken to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, had been stabbed twice to her head and once to the right side of her face.
She also had two deeper wounds to her left upper arm and wrist, inflicted as she tried to protect herself.
Islam Khan, defending, said Abdulrasul – who came to Britain as a refugee after fleeing Sudan’s civil war – was ‘deeply sorry and remorseful’.
West Midlands Police’s investigating officer Rebecca Freeth said after the sentencing: ‘This was a savage attack which could have had even more horrendous consequences without the courageous actions of the three men who rushed to help.
‘Their actions most likely saved her life, and also enabled us to quickly locate Abdulrasul and arrest him.
‘Thankfully she managed to survive her injuries and is continuing to rebuild her life following such a traumatic ordeal.
‘We take any violence against women and girls extremely seriously and it won’t be tolerated.
‘He has now quite rightly been put behind bars for a significant period of time.’
Three members of the public were recognised in September for their quick thinking and bravery, receiving a special commendation from West Midlands Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford.
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