Family release shocking image of granddad who was doused in petrol

Family release shocking image of a devout grandfather 24 hours after he was doused in petrol and set alight by a paranoid schizophrenic as he walked home from a mosque

  • Mohammed Rayaz could not open his eyes, hear or speak after the attack  

The family of a devoted grandfather who was doused in petrol and set alight by a paranoid schizophrenic have shared a heartbreaking image they want the world to see.  

The photograph of Mohammed Rayaz was taken 24 hours after the family man was targeted as he walked home from his local mosque.

At this point the 70-year-old could not open his eyes, hear or speak as he lay with bandages on his painful wounds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

His son Mohammed Ayaz said his father eventually opened his eyes three days later but still couldn’t speak. When he did, he asked: ‘Why did he attack me? I didn’t know or do anything to him.’

The father-of-two spent four weeks in hospital, returning weekly to get his bandages changed. 

As his attacker Mohammed Abbkr awaits sentencing after being found guilty of two charges of attempted murder at Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Rayaz’s family released the picture showing the extent of his injuries and the gruelling battle he faces back to full health. 

Mohammed Rayaz, who was set alight in Edgbaston on his way back from a mosque, pictured before the attack

This is the heartbreaking image the family of devoted grandfather Mohammed Rayaz want the world to see

Burnt clothing belonging to Mr Rayaz after the horrific attack, in a photo issued by police

Mohammed Abbkr, 29, was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder at Birmingham Crown Court 

A photo of the backpack, which was seized by police, reveals the contents of the bag which include lighter fluid in a plastic water bottle, a lighter with a cannabis leaf design and  a pair of blades

Mr Rayaz has endured many follow-up appointments and doctors said it will take around two years for his skin to fully heal. 

He must stay out of UV light and wear a cap. He has been diagnosed with PTSD and depression.

His son Mohammed said: ‘He’s not the same as he was mentally and physically. We hope that time will heal and that the attacker gets a long time in prison.

‘As a family, it has affected three generations – from grandfather, father to grandchildren. As a family we are grateful to the jury and the public for their support and well-wishers. But this will stay with us all of our lives.’

Grandfather and devoted Muslim Mohammed Rayaz had completed his sunset prayers at Dudley Road mosque on March 20 this year and stayed behind to read more of the Quran on the eve of Ramadan.

But on that fateful day in the mosque, Mr Rayaz was being watched intensely by schizophrenic Abbkr. 

Mohammed Rayaz, 70, is pictured arriving for a prayer service at the Dudley Road Mosque

Mohammed Abbkr (left) and victim Mohammed Rayaz, 70, during the prayer service at the Dudley Road Mosque on March 20 this year before Abbkr attacked Mr Rayaz 

Jurors convicted Abbkr by majority 11-1 verdicts after deliberating for more than seven hours over two days. Pictured: Abbkr accosting Mohammed Rayaz in the street after following him from Dudley Road Mosque on March 20 this year

A month earlier the 29-year-old had travelled from Edgbaston to London and doused worshipper 82-year-old Hashi Odowa in petrol and set him alight after he left prayers at the West London Islamic Centre in Ealing.

The paranoid schizophrenic targeted Mr Odowa in London after he failed to recognise him, telling him – ‘I swear in the name of Allah you will know me.’ 

Now he had his sights on 70-year-old Mr Rayaz, stalking the pensioner as he walked home. 

On Shenstone Road, Abbkr asked his victim him if he spoke Arabic before pouring fuel over him before setting him ablaze.

An investigation was launched and Abbkr arrested. He will be sentenced on November 17. 

Judge Melbourne Inman KC the Recorder of Birmingham, told the court he wanted to hear further psychiatric evidence before considering a proposal to sentence Abbkr, of Edgbaston, to a hospital order.

Abbkr was on trial accused of attempting to murder Hashi Odowa, 82, (pictured) and Mohammed Rayaz, 70, in separate attacks earlier this year

Read more: Pictures reveal charred remains of elderly worshipper’s clothing after he was set alight by paranoid schizophrenic outside mosque

Mr Ayaz said previously: ‘My father had kept a beard for 20 years after completing Hajj, a religious pilgrimage, and on that evening seeing my father’s beautiful white beard all burnt off, eyes and lips swollen up, hands burnt and seeing him half naked with no clothes on the upper body was just a very traumatic and life changing moment. 

‘No words can describe that moment the emotions which I was feeling, I felt so helpless and weak, no son or daughter should see their father or mother in that state.

‘The unlawful use of violence and intimidation on two elderly people, in two different cities after Islamic prayers and after two separate mosques in my view were all planned in advance and carried out with precision with no concern if the victim lives or dies. Furthermore, no consideration of the surrounding public who could have been hurt also.

‘My elderly mother is still traumatised and thinks that the attacker will be released early to come back to finish the job or the attacker’s family might come and attack her and us.’

Mohammed Abbkr, 29, was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder at Birmingham Crown Court after setting fire to elderly worshippers who had left mosques in London and Edgbaston in February and March this year. Abbkr is pictured in a court sketch last month

His brother, Adnaan Riaz, added: ‘Seeing the CCTV video of my dad being set on fire, his screams of pain and then reliving the visuals to the build-up of the attack and then after the attack will be with me forever. I would describe the attacker as a coward, this coward does not belong to any religion, society or even humanity.

‘This impact of emotions which I have shared with you will be felt by me and my family for a very long time to come and will remain with me for the rest of my life.’

It emerged during the trial that Abbkr came to the UK from Sudan in 2017 seeking asylum and was granted leave to remain in 2019. Mr Ayaz said this has left them asking why he was allowed to stay.

He said: ‘All of us blame the Government and Home Office. They should have done their checks.’

Mr Rayaz described in his police interview being attacked as he left Dudley Road mosque, where he had been a regular for 15 years. He said: ‘I never saw him come up behind me or from the right or left. He came in front of me and started to attack me. I tried to carry on’

In police interview, Mr Rayaz told how he thought he was going to die after being covered with a light coloured liquid and having a lighter held to his neck.

He said: ‘I never saw him come up behind me or from the right or left

‘He came in front of me and started to attack me. I tried to carry on.

‘He had something in his hand and I wondered whether it was a knife and he was going to attack me with a knife.

‘He just quickly threw something on me. The flames have gone up. I did not know what to do.

‘I just tried to pull off my clothing. I was screaming for help but nobody came.’

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