Middlesbrough Muslim facing jail for slashing friend who sympathised with tragic soldier Lee Rigby

Lee Rigby

Lee Rigby

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A MAN is facing jail for knifing a friend after he sympathised with the murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Ziko Sulliman, a Muslim from Sudan, attacked Zakaria Zain in a dispute days after the squaddie's death.

The pair had been drinking in Sulliman's home in Middlesbrough when a report of the killing was on TV news.

It is said the pair rowed after Mr Zain - also a Sudanese national - commented that it was appalling.

He left the house in Aire Street and went to his home in nearby Fife Street, but was followed by Sulliman.

The 27-year-old knocked on the door, and when his friend answered, he slashed him across the face.

It is said Sulliman yelled at Mr Zain before slashing him: "I will send you to God."

Another pal - a Muslim from Sudan, Khalid Osman - tried to intervene and was also injured with the knife.

At a brief hearing at Teesside Crown Court today (Friday), Sulliman admitted three charges arising from the incident.

He pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, unlawful wounding and having a bladed article.

It is said that two knives were missing from the kitchen of the home he shared with his girlfriend after the trouble on May 28.

Sulliman was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on September 6 after a background report has been prepared.

Andrew Teate, defending, told Judge Tony Briggs: "He is aware a lengthy custodial sentence will follow."

Police said one of Sulliman's victims suffered a three-inch wound to his cheek and was stabbed in the leg.

The other was slashed across the hand as he tried to pull the attacker off his friend as they fought on a sofa.

Private Rigby died after being attacked as he returned to his barracks in Woolwich, south east London, on May 22.

The 25-year-old Royal Regiment of Fusiliers drummer, from Bury, Greater Manchester, had been on a recruitment drive.

Two men - Michael Adeboloja, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been charged with his murder.

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