Man guilty of random 'Terminator' tube attack after hacking commuter with machete

20 May 2022, 15:31 | Updated: 20 May 2022, 23:06

James Porritt (top) was "minding his own business" before Ricky Morgan (bottom) launched at him with a machete
James Porritt (top) was "minding his own business" before Ricky Morgan (bottom) launched at him with a machete. Picture: Met police/BTP/Facebook

By Megan Hinton

A man has been found guilty of attempted murder after he launched a machete attack on a complete stranger on the tube.

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Ricky Morgan carried out an unprovoked "Terminator" style attack on James Porritt while he was "minding his own business" on the Jubilee line.

The 34-year-old was described as a " hellbent machine" and "emotionless" during the attack with Mr Porritt believing he was "going to die" after the "relentless" attack.

Mr Porritt escaped the attack but suffered bone-deep cuts to his head and shin and a severed hand which he had to "hold together" to prevent him loosing his little finger.

Morgan, 34, was heard to tell horrified onlookers: "This is not a terror attack, I only want him."

Mr Porritt, who suffered a severe injury to his hand, told jurors it was like a "horror movie" and the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film Terminator.

Morgan denied attempted murder on grounds of insanity but was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey after two days of deliberations.

He was also convicted of possessing a machete and a lock knife.

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During the attack, tube that passengers became so panicked that they toppled over each other as they fled through carriages, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Grace Ong had told jurors that Mr Porritt and Morgan were complete strangers.

She said: "This was, the prosecution say, a completely unprovoked attack on a commuter on the Jubilee line going about his daily business."

On the evening of July 9 last year, Mr Porritt, a self-employed businessman, had visited a gym and was on his way to meet his girlfriend and her father in west London.

He got on a north-bound train at Westminster before Morgan produced the machete and a lock knife from his rucksack near Green Park.

In a video interview played in court, Mr Porritt described minding his own business and being in a "bubble" as he sat in the carriage.

He was looking at his phone and feeling nervous about the family meeting when he heard a scream.

The next thing he knew was the defendant hitting him over the head, the court was told.

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Ricky Morgan was described as "emotionless" during the attack
Ricky Morgan was described as "emotionless" during the attack. Picture: British Transport Police

He put his hand up to protect himself during the onslaught, the jury heard.

Describing the attack, he said: "I was pleading 'Please stop, please stop'.

"I was in shock, it was like a horror movie. I genuinely thought he was going to kill me."

Mr Porritt said he did not feel anything but saw the blood as Morgan smashed an object over his head.

He said: "He was just hitting me. It did not make sense. I didn't understand why this guy was hitting me. There was no confrontation. There was no issue, it was just bang, (he) started hitting me.

"He was like a machine. It was like that movie Terminator.

"He was emotionless. He did not seem to have any kind of compassion. But it seemed very focused and relentless and he was just hellbent on doing what he was doing.

"He was like on a mission. He kept hitting my shin and I genuinely thought I was going to die.

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Morgan, 34, was heard to tell horrified onlookers: "This is not a terror attack, I only want him."
Morgan, 34, was heard to tell horrified onlookers: "This is not a terror attack, I only want him.". Picture: Met Police

"I've got nothing left now. I don't know how I escaped. I was scared I was going to lose my little finger and I held it together.

"I just knew, fight or flight. I just ran for my life. It was like a stampede, people were terrified."

Morgan pursued him and lunged the "huge" blade through the window of the connecting carriage door, Mr Porritt said.

Pointing with the knife through the door, Morgan said: "I don't want anyone else, I just want him," the court heard.

Mr Porritt described the machete as like something out of Arabian Nights.

He added: "It was just like he was a predator and he was hunting, and he decided he was hunting me."

Mr Porritt said it was "so surreal" to be targeted by a stranger on a rush-hour train.

"He just would not stop. He was relentless. He said he did not want anybody else, he just wanted me. He was fixated with me," Mr Porritt said.

Ricky Morgan carried out an unprovoked "Terminator" style attack on the tube last summer
Ricky Morgan carried out an unprovoked "Terminator" style attack on the tube last summer. Picture: Alamy

He managed to get away and through a carriage door, while holding the severed parts of his hand together.

People were screaming but they could not hold Morgan off, and Mr Porritt added: "It was just terrifying."

As well as the severe injury to his right hand, Mr Porritt suffered bone-deep cuts to his head and shin, jurors were told. According to witnesses, passengers got up and screamed when the attacker started waving the knife around.

Many tried to run away but in the panic ended up piled on the floor, the court heard.

One witness said the attacker let out an "unholy scream" as he hit out with the machete.

He was heard to say: "This is not a terrorist attack, I only want him.

"I don't want to kill you, I want to kill him, he was trying to kill me."

Another passenger bravely tried to engage with Morgan and told him to "calm down", the court heard.

Meanwhile, a doctor who happened to be on the train gave Mr Porritt first aid.

On being confronted by police, Morgan dropped the blade, put his hands up and got on the floor.

He told officers it was "a road issue" not a "terrorist attack", adding: "If I had known it would cause this much drama I would not have done it."

Morgan was to tell a psychiatrist he had been carrying the machete and lock knife around for some time.

He also had an almost empty bottle of vodka in his rucksack, the court heard.

Morgan, of no fixed address, declined to give evidence in court.