This is the Wembley man who drove a stolen car repeatedly at worshippers outside a Brent mosque last year, yelling that Muslims are “sick” and “all terrorists.”
Martin Stokes, a 25-year-old from Lynton Close, was sentenced to five years in prison at Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday (March 6) and banned from driving for seven and a half years, though he has never passed a driving test.
The court heard how at around half past midnight on September 19 last year, he parked in a car park near The Al Hussaini Association Muslim community centre on Horseshoe Close, where an event attended by hundreds of worshippers were taking place.
Stokes became aggressive after security staff, including later victim Saad Shouayek, asked him and his friends, who were drinking and smoking inside his car, to leave. He shouted racist abuse and drove towards a crowd of worshippers, injuring three before fleeing the scene.
Malik Yasser Al-Shamari, a man in his 50s who suffered a broken hip that left him hospitalised for almost a month, told the court how the attack had “destroyed his life”, leaving him unable to continue working or walk long distances without using crutches.
Stokes was arrested on October 23 2018 and charged with the help of DNA evidence left on an airbag in the car, which had been stolen ten days before the attack and fitted with false plates.
In her summing up statements, Her Honour Judge Dean said the incident must have been “horrifying and terrifying” for those involved, adding that it was “a miracle there were not more casualties or more serious injuries
In his victim statement, submitted on January 14, Mr Al-Shamari described how the attack left him with a dislocated right knee and a fractured pelvis and that his inability to move freely had made him depressed and exhausted.
In addition to the loss of income from his part-time job in Croydon and Watford supermarkets, he said he was now anxious whenever he saw cars.
Even defending lawyer David Burgess remarked that “it is difficult to imagine a case of its kind that could be worse”, describing Stokes’ actions as “awful behaviour directed at perfectly lawful worshippers and security staff”.
However, he argued that the court should consider how a long sentence risked Stokes relapsing back into his spice addiction, which had left him “in no way recognisable to family as the man who had gone in” after he was released from jail in early 2017.
Stokes was also on trial for an incident on November 24 2017 when he performed an illegal U-turn on an M4 slip road just before junction 11 to drive back onto the motorway, which the judge described as a “spectacularly dangerous piece of driving”, in an attempt to evade police.
The court heard how not long later, while driving the wrong way on a roundabout, he collided with Kyle and Chloe Steadman, who had their three-month old baby in the back, destroying their car and leaving the parents suffering whiplash.
In both instances, Judge Dean criticised Stokes for failing to stop to see if anyone was seriously hurt as a consequence of his reckless actions.
Mohammed Al Bayati, from the Al Hussaini Association, described how the violent attack against men, women and children took place during a sacred month of the Islamic calender and had an enormous impact on the community.