A drunken asylum seeker who tried to stab strangers in Thornton Heath because he wanted to "kill English people" has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Samiualahq Akbari, 32, appeared at the Old Bailey yesterday, having been found guilty of attempted murder following a week long trial at the same court last month.

In a random spree, Akbari went to three different establishments asking people where they were from, lunging at them with a large kebab knife if they were English.

The court heard how on the night of Tuesday, January 8, Akbari, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, called his cousin whilst heavily drunk and said he wanted to "kill English people."

After the phone call, his concerned cousin travelled to Thornton Heath to check on him.

They both went to a fast food shop, and while Akbari was inside his cousin contacted police.

When his cousin then tried to persuade him to go home, Akbari ran off.

Officers met the cousin nearby and a search began to trace Akbari's whereabouts.

Akbari entered a kebab shop on London road, approaching two customers and asking them where they were from.

When they didn't answer, he walked behind the counter and took a large kitchen knife which he waved in a customer's face.

Leaving with the knife, he then entered the Akbari entered the Plough-On-The-Pond pub in search of further victims.

After again asking customers where they were from he lunged towards a group with the knife.

The group were able to defend themselves, forcing Akbari to back off and leave.

He then entered Tesco, approaching a customer standing in the isle, asking him where he was from.

When the man said he was from the UK, Akbari charged at him with the knife.

The victim managed to jump backwards, evading the blade and after a brief struggle Akbari left the supermarket.

Officers arrived shortly after, spotting Akbari nearby. He ran off and was detained in a residential garden.

He was charged on January 10 with two counts of affray, possession of an offensive weapon, two counts of threatening another with an offensive weapon and attempted murder and attempted wounding with intent.

He pleaded guilty to the affray charges and one count of threatening another with an offensive weapon.

Yesterday Akbari was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for committing affray in the kebab shop, 12 months for the affray in the pub and 20 and 30 months for the two charges of threatening another with an offensive weapon.

He was also sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for four counts of criminal damage with intent to endanger life after throwing rocks from a footbridge overlooking a dual carriageway in Basildon on May 10, 2018.

All the sentences will run concurrently to the 21 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder.

Detective Constable Chris Dimmer, of South Area CID, said: “It’s clear that Akbari was malicious in his intention to injure as many people as possible

“He specifically sought to identify and target people from a certain nationality and to cause them as much harm as possible.

“I’m pleased to see that this dangerous man’s actions have been met with this lengthy sentence and I hope it gives those targeted in the attack some form of closure.”