Mourners left ‘gasping and screaming’ by man grabbing flag from Queen’s coffin, court told | UK News
The mourners were “gasping and screaming” as they watched a man step out of the waiting line to pay his respects to the Queen and snatch the flag over her coffin, a court heard.
Muhammad Khan, 28, was restrained by police officers near the coffin and mourners were “apparently distressed” by the sight, London’s Westminster Magistrates Court heard.
Khan was sent to a mental health facility by district judge Louisa Cieciora after she noticed his actions caused distress to those who witnessed the scene.
Khan, of Limehouse, east London, was charged under Section 4A of the Public Order Act, alleging that he acted with the intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons Unknown.
At an earlier hearing, the court said doctors had judged Khan unfit to participate in the proceedings and said he was suffering from paranoia.
Khan left the queue at Westminster Hall around 9:45 p.m. on September 16.
Officers saw him approach the coffin and grab hold of the Royal Standard before being quickly detained and arrested.
PC Lynsey McMenemy, along with PC Jordan Godfrey, wrestled with Khan and all three fell to the ground.
PC McMenemy said members of the public were “gasps” and “obviously very distressed”. He added that he “understood” why mourners felt the way they did.
Other officers arrived after being warned by mourners to “gasp and scream”, the court said.
As he was removed from the scene, Khan told an officer he “wanted to see if she was really dead,” the court said.
The judge said she was pleased that the suffering mourners experienced was “due to Mr Khan’s actions” and not from police arrest.
As the funeral approaches, Mr Khan’s actions will be noticed by the public “most of them will look at the coffin and the people there to pay their respects”, the judge said.
She added that they would see him take the Royal Standard and that “the very act will cause the gasps and anguish that PC McMenemy has heard”.
The judge said she was satisfied, after evaluation by two doctors, that Mr Khan was suffering from a mental disorder and should receive hospital care so he could receive appropriate treatment.
Rakesh Bhasin, defense, said: “As you have heard, the incident lasted only a few seconds. The first officer who saw Mr. Khan saw him and brought him to the ground within seconds.”
He suggested that other officers who arrived at the scene shortly afterwards heard screams or gasps but this clearly could not be due to Mr Khan’s actions and not his arrest.