A mentally ill man accused of charging at armed police with a kitchen knife at Horse Guards Parade narrowly escaped being shot dead because the officer ‘forgot to take the safety catch off his gun’, a court has heard today.
Alleged knifeman Prashanth Kandhaiah, 29, is accused of confronting two Ministry of Defence Police officers at the site of the annual Trooping the Colour in Whitehall, London at about 8.50am yesterday.
The suspect allegedly tried to stab one of the officers, who fell to the ground, before he was Tasered and restrained, a court heard.
Wearing a grey prison T-shirt, Kandhaiah appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a bladed article.
Defending, Richard Craven told the court: ‘He [Kandhaiah] is schizophrenic, he takes medication for that. He gave a long and detailed interview to the police. He explained that he is in a lot of pain from various ailments.
‘The officer did attempt to shoot the defendant and pulled the trigger twice but because it is a newer model Glock it has a dual safety. He forgot to take the safety off the back.
‘Had it not been for that he would be dead.’
Prosecutor Rose Edwin said: ‘Two uniformed officers were on static patrol when the defendant ran at them holding a kitchen knife. He made attempts to stab an officer who fell to the ground. The officer had to repeatedly kick out to prevent the defendant from stabbing him.
‘He was able to draw his side arm and point it at the defendant but it did not deter him. The defendant continued to wield the knife at him.
‘The attack was only stopped when the second officer took out his taser and fired it at the defendant and was able to subdue him.’
Earlier a Met Police spokesperson said: ‘An investigation has been launched following an incident at Horse Guards Parade in Westminster on Monday morning.
‘At around 8:50am, a 29-year-old man, who was armed with a knife, confronted two Ministry of Defence Police officers. Taser was deployed and the man was restrained by officers. There were no reports of any injuries.
‘He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon and remains in custody at a central London police station. The incident is not being treated as terror-related.
An investigation is under way. Met officers will continue to liaise closely with the Ministry of Defence Police as it progresses.’
A number of government buildings including the MoD Main Building are at Horse Guards, as well as army barracks.
Shortly before 2.30pm, police reopened Whitehall to traffic and pedestrians and the only sign of what had happened was blue tape outside the entrance to Horse Guards.