The independent London newspaper

Jailed knife attacker ‘a stupid boy’, says mum

Son who stabbed four PCs ‘will try to become better’

31 May, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Alex Traykov

THE mother of a young man who stabbed four police officers has described him as a “stupid boy who made a mistake” after he was sent to prison for 15 years.

Jacqueline Simons said her son has been demonised by the media through “cut-and-paste” newspaper stories and that he would use his time in jail “to become a better person”.

Alex Traykov, 20, called police to a friend’s house in Liverpool Road, Angel, with a hoax 999 call last October. When officers arrived he lunged at them with a bread knife, the Old Bailey heard.

He was sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of wounding with intent.

The police officers who were injured were tearful as they described the incident in court.

The 20-year-old blamed “very strong” cannabis for inducing a psychotic episode on the day of the attacks, saying he had no control over his actions.

Ms Simons said: “I ask myself: how did it happen? Did I fail as a parent?

“I remember my friends saying they wished they had the relationship I had with my children. They respected me and my opinions. Then you get one mistake, and you still think: could I have done something different? Could I have stopped him from seeing certain friends? But you can’t. Your children need to realise for themselves.”

As a child growing up in Bulgaria, Mr Traykov was obsessed with England, Ms Simons added.

He watched countless English TV programmes, and his mother was astonished when she realised that he had taught himself the language by the age of 10.

Jacqueline Simons, who said her son was ‘not blaming anyone but himself for what happened’

He then asked to move from Bulgaria to live with his father in London.

Ms Simons said: “I raise my children telling them that there are doors with different options. You have to decide which one you’re going to open and then live with the consequences.

“You are never 100 per cent bad or good. ­What­ever decision you make, there is always good and bad. He made his decision.”

Ms Simons, who is separated from Mr Traykov’s father, moved to the UK later.

Mr Traykov gained a place at Winchester University to study history in 2016.

“He was just a normal child,” Ms Simmons said. “He was loving, he still is. He used to laugh a lot. He is a very cheerful boy. He was so excited to go to university.”

But Mr Traykov told the Old Bailey how he became “depressed” at university, adding: “I played PlayStation, went to the gym, got high, anything but studying.”

At the beginning of 2018 he started using meditation to tackle his “depression and anxiety”, and later dropped out of his course, moving in with his mother.

The day after the attack a friend of Mr Traykov called his mother to tell her what had happened.

“I was listening to him and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I started thinking: am I asleep? Is this for real? Is this a sick joke?” she said.

Mr Traykov was told by other inmates about a Channel 5 documentary on his case, which he watched when it was broadcast on May 20.

“People know better than to trust what the telly says,” she said. “From the few ‘copy-and-paste’ stories I saw online I was appalled by the way he was described and branded as a monster.”

Sentencing Mr Traykov, Judge Wendy Joseph QC said: “I have no doubt he understands in his heart what he has done.”

Ms Simons saw Mr Traykov on Saturday after the sentencing. “He said he is not blaming anyone but himself for what happened and he’ll try to use the time in prison to become a better person,” she said.

“From the bottom of our hearts Alex and I wish the officers a complete recovery and that they stay safe and carry on with their careers without feeling threatened.”

Police officer: This has had such an impact on my life

CCTV of police outside the Liverpool Road house

TEARFUL police officers told a court how they had to fight for their lives on the night a teenager attacked them with a knife, writes Calum Fraser.

Four Islington police officers wrestled Alex Traykov – 19 at the time of the attacks – to the ground.

PC Rafal Kedziora, who received a 4cm slash wound to his face, told the court: “I have never expected that I would have to fight for my life and that I would go through such an incident.

“I understand that the job I love is dangerous and chall­enging, but being stabbed in the face and neck had never crossed my mind. I consider myself very lucky to come out of this ordeal with such injuries.”

PC Istarlin Said Ali, who was leading the four officers, came face to face with Mr Traykov on the doorstep when he produced a knife. She was stabbed in the hand as she raised it to protect her face.

She said: “I thought that with time things would get better. However, this incident has had such an impact on my life.

“I find I instinctively don’t trust people, when I always used to find it very easy. I find myself being far more paranoid and anxious than I ever was before.

“It has led to me behaving differently whenever I see something that is ever so slightly out of the ordinary or not as expected.”

Mr Traykov kept lashing out with the knife as the officers fell back from him down the steps outside the house.

PC Launa Watkins hit Mr Traykov with a Taser and gave him a five-second shock. She then cancelled the five-second limit and gave him a further 40-second shock.

At this point, PC Ben Thomson got up off the ground and hit Mr Traykov with his baton before putting him in handcuffs.

A tearful PC Thomson told the court: “I have relived the incident, in part and in full, in my head countless times since.

“I have since the incident found myself quick to temper, and becoming angry and frustrated at irrelevant and minor things, which in the past I would have happily ignored and let wash over me. It has been very hard for my wife and stepdaughter to deal with me at times.”

He added: “It hurts when the people you love most are tell­ing you that you have changed, and you feel powerless to stop it.”


Share this story

Post a comment