Speaking after the verdict, senior district crown prosecutor Lawrence English said the attack was a vicious assassination attempt on a defenseless man during a religious ceremony in front of a full congregation. “To plan and execute an attack like this in a place of worship is simply abhorrent,” the report quoted English as saying. “Harjit Singh Toor went to considerable lengths to plan his attack and ensure he was not detected and thwarted in his attempt. He purchased the axe, carefully concealed it and went to the temple with the intent to kill,” English added. Toor was arrested and charged with attempted murder.He admitted launching the axe attack on Uday Singh but denied the attempted murder charge.
Toor, from Leicester’s Oadby town, had accused Singh of sexually abusing him, when he was aged eight, in India about 20 years ago and contended that the attack was a revenge act. Singh denied the sexual assaults had ever taken place or that he had ever met Toor before. The prosecution, however, did not accept the defendant’s sexual allegation as true. “Whether the attack was born out of religious hatred or was an act of revenge, the defendant had a crystal-clear motive to kill the guru,” Gordon Aspen, the prosecutor, said. A jury at Birmingham Crown Court May 18 watched footage of the attack that showed Singh leaping onto a low platform with the axe and swinging it down at the religious leader, while a group of musicians looked on in the background. There was a gathering of about 300 worshippers in the gurdwara belonging to the Namdharis, a sect in Sikhism, who overpowered the attacker and wrestled him to the ground. The court heard that Singh had been named as the new leader of the Namdhari sect in 2012, which led to violence in India because some in the sect had wanted his older brother to take up the role, the report said. Singh gave evidence May 18 by video link from another location in Britain. Singh, in his testimony, said the attacker removed a blanket and suddenly produced the axe. Singh said: “He immediately got onto the platform and swung the axe towards my head. “In the short time, the only action I could have was to move slightly backwards and raise my right arm in defense.” (IANS)