HE TOLD Police: “I’m going to kill a Muslim. I’m doing this for Britain. This is the way I am going to help the country. You people can’t do anything. I am going to do it my way because that is what I think is right.”
Marek Zakrocki, 48, a Polish national living in Alexandra Avenue, Harrow, was the man who said this – and at his Old Bailey trial last week he pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and assault. He will return to the Old Bailey on 12th January for sentencing.
The offences occurred on 23rd June. It began just before 8.30pm, when police were called to St Ann’s Shopping Centre in Harrow to deal with a disturbance – which turned out to be Zakrocki, shouting racist abuse. He had left the area by the time they arrived. Police were called out again around a quarter of an hour later, after a van drove into an Indian restaurant in Alexandra Parade, Harrow. Fortunately no one was injured. Again, the van had left the scene by the time police arrived, but they stopped it nearby, in Northolt Road, a few minutes later.
The man driving the van – later identified as Zakrocki – had a kitchen knife and a baton torch in his possession. He was also breathalysed and found to be nearly three times the drink-drive limit. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The full story which came out in court began earlier in the evening. The Court heard that Zakrocki drank around two bottles of wine and then had an argument with his wife. He told his wife and daughter that he was going out to attack a religious building, with the aim of harming Muslims, and left. His wife and daughter were worried and rang the police, who went to his home. From there, they used Zakrocki’s wife’s mobile to ring him. Zakrocki answered and spoke the above words to the police.
Just before he drove the van into the restaurant, Zakrocki was witnessed by a group of people driving around a pedestrian zone in St Ann’s Road, shouting about “white power”. He stopped the van and pushed someone, before driving over to the restaurant. He drove at the owner, who managed to jump out of the way, before driving into the shop front, reversing, and driving into it again. He then drove off – being stopped by the police a few minutes later.
Zakrocki told police that he could not remember anything that happened after he had drunk the wine that evening. He also said that he was not racist and did not wish to harm anyone – shortly after he admitted that the knife and baton-torch found in his van belonged to him.
Police on hate crime
DC Georgina Acuna, the investigating officer from Harrow Community Safety Unit, said, “Zakrocki deliberately armed himself with a knife on Friday, 23rd June and told both his family and officer that he intended to harm someone for their religious beliefs. This was a terrifying ordeal for the witnesses and victims. Zakrocki was almost three times over the drink-driving limit and it was through pure good-fortune that no one was injured during his rampage.
“Hate crime, in all its forms, will not be tolerated and offenders such as Zakrocki will be brought to justice… We would appeal to anyone who witnesses or suffers any hate of any type to immediately report it so that action can quickly be taken and we can catch those responsible.”