Zack Davies told onlookers that he had carried out the assault on Dr Sarandev Bhambra in revenge for the death of the soldier Lee Rigby
A loner fascinated with far right ideologies and violent video games screamed “white power” as he launched a racially-motivated machete and hammer attack on a dentist of Asian origin, a court has heard.
As he was led away by police, Zack Davies told onlookers that he had carried out the assault on Dr Sarandev Bhambra in revenge for the death of the soldier Lee Rigby, who was killed by Islamist extremists outside a barracks in south-east London.
He also later claimed that the British Isis terrorist nicknamed Jihadi John was an inspiration for the attack, which left 24-year-old Bhambra with terrible injuries to his head, back and hand.
Davies, 26, from Mold in north Wales, was found guilty of attempting to murder Bhambra, who is still recovering from his injuries.
Outside Mold crown court, Bhambra’s family argued Davies had committed an act of terrorism. They said if the men’s ethnicities had been reversed the family had no doubt it would have been reported as an act of terror.
Bhambra’s brother, Dr Tarlochan Singh Bhambra, said in a statement: “Sarandev was singled out because of the colour of his skin. We are in no doubt that had the racial disposition of this case been reversed this would be reported as an act of terror with a wider media coverage.
“We as a family have listened intently to the evidence … and are in no doubt given the racial and political motivation that this should be rightly defined as an act of terrorism. By his own admission Zack Davies had extreme neo-Nazi views and is a member of a white supremacist organisation.”
He said his brother, who was born in Leeds, was a young man of whom his family was immensely proud and who had just started out on his chosen career. “This cowardly assault has left him with life-changing injuries. Sarandev is currently undergoing an extensive programme of rehabilitation.”
Judge Rhys Rowlands sent Davies to a high security hospital for psychiatric reports to be prepared before he sentences him in September.
“I hold the view he is an incredibly dangerous young man. If it is not going to be a hospital order it will be the longest possible sentence,” the judge said. “Dr Bhambra sustained the most dreadful life-changing injuries during a sustained racist attack on an innocent man, a member of a caring profession.”
There was applause from the public gallery as the verdict was returned.
The jury had heard how Davies would sit in his flat playing violent video games for six or seven hours a day. Expelled from school at 11 for bringing in a knife to school, Davies became a loner and admitted carrying a weapon with him every day since he was 15 because of his growing paranoia.
On 14 January he spotted Bhambra on the street in Mold at lunchtime and followed him to a Tesco supermarket, where he attacked him from behind with a claw hammer and 30cm-long machete in front of shoppers and children.
Bhambra was saved after an ex-soldier, Peter Fuller, stepped in to help. Davies told Fuller: “We are under attack,” but Fuller said what he was doing was madness and Bhambra had not done anything.
Davies admitted saying “white power” and “I did it for Lee Rigby,” during and after the attack. He told the court: “I got very fascinated by Jihadi John and was inspired by him. I even had a mask.”
He was described in court as a racist with a fascination for far right ideologies. In interview he told police that maybe the wrong side had won the second world war. The court heard items associated with white supremacy and Nazism were found at Davies’s home, including swastika badges and Combat 18 material. Davies apologised in court to the family of Lee Rigby and to Bhambra.
Asked if he considered it an act of terrorism, DCI Alun Oldfield, of North Wales police, said: “In our view this was an attempted murder, racially motivated.”
Gareth Preston, senior crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wales, said: “Zackery Davies is a dangerous young man whose distorted and racist views led him to commit a terrifying act of violence. This was an attack against a complete stranger, singled out for no other reason than his ethnicity.”