SINGAPORE — Within half an hour of leaving his house with a knife, a man slashed a jogger’s arm, threatened a cyclist, then entered a mosque and disrupted a packed religious class.
Before leaving his house earlier this year, Fadhil Yusop, 35, had asked his wife to stay at home. He then cycled to the Masjid Al-Mawaddah Mosque at 151 Compassvale Bow when he committed the string of offences.
The grave digger later told police officers that he heard voices telling him to head to the mosque to tell the government to “change to Islam”, according to court documents.
Fadhil was jailed nine months and two weeks on Monday (11 May) after he pleaded guilty to one charge each of criminal intimidation, causing hurt with a weapon, causing hurt to a police officer and intentionally causing alarm. Two similar offences were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
At about 8pm on 19 January, Fadhil left home with a kitchen knife kept in a leather sheath after instructing his wife not to leave the house.
As he was cycling towards Masjid Al-Mawaddah Mosque, he came across a 24-year-old jogger. He approached the jogger at about 8.05pm, holding the knife unsheathed.
The jogger, who was headed in the direction of Fadhil, decided to give Fadhil a wide berth and jogged onto the main road.
However, Fadhil caught up with the jogger and slashed his right forearm, causing a 20cm laceration. The jogger fled. He later received five stitches from a clinic where he sought medical attention.
Minutes later, Fadhil encountered a cyclist, who was heading toward the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for work.
The 37-year-old IMH healthcare attendant saw Fadhil unsheathe his knife and alight from his bicycle. Despite the healthcare attendant’s gesturing, Fadhil pointed the knife at him, prompting the cyclist to push the bicycle in Fadhil’s direction and flee on foot.
Fadhil gave chase with his knife. When he saw the healthcare attendant approach a passer-by for help, Fadhil left for the mosque.
Fadhil reached Masjid Al-Mawaddah Mosque at about 8.20pm and entered its prayer hall. Mosque religious officer Muhammad Mukhtar Habib Mohamed was conducting a religious class with about 100 attendees at the time.
As Fadhil entered the hall with the knife in hand, he shouted an Arabic greeting for “peace be upon you” and warned Mukhtar not to teach anymore. The attendees managed to disarm Fadhil and a mosque caretaker called the police.
When police officers tried to place Fadhil under arrest for carrying a knife in public, he struggled violently and kicked one officer’s knee.
Consumed cough suppressants
Addressing the court, Fadhil said that he had “over-consumed” cough suppressants, which he took recreationally.
The father said he was the sole breadwinner supporting three children and a pregnant Indonesian wife and pleaded for leniency.
According to an IMH assessment, Fadhil has substance use disorder involving the abuse of cough suppressants.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Lim noted that this was not a mitigating factor in the case as Fadhil’s substance abuse was self-induced.
The report also did not highlight a strong causal link between Fadhil’s disorder and the offences he committed. Fadhil was still in control of his actions, pointed out the DPP.
District Judge Marvin Bay told Fadhil that his acts amounted to a “spree of criminal acts”.
“I accept that you had, according to the psychiatrist’s report, taken a large amount of pills containing dextromethorphan, which had caused you to be disinhibited,” said the judge.
“Nevertheless, the sentence imposed must be effective in deterring persons from embarking on such sprees after self-intoxicating,” he added.
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