Community leader stabbed in welfare check

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A Somali community leader who went to care for an “unwell” man was allegedly stabbed to death after trying to calm the knife-wielding man down, a court has been told.

Luqman Abdishakur Ahmed has been accused of murdering Mohamed Farah with a kitchen knife at a North Melbourne apartment in January.

Court documents allege Mr Farah and three other Somali community leaders went to the apartment, which belonged to Abdishakur Ahmed’s aunt and uncle, after reports he was having mental health issues.

They planned to read passages of the Koran, in a healing process known as “ruqya”, to the 30-year-old, who had been “talking to himself” and was “out of his mind”, according to witnesses.

One member of the group, Mohamed Muse, on Wednesday told Melbourne Magistrates Court that Abdishakur Ahmed became angry all of a sudden and started brandishing a knife.

Mr Farah, he said, urged the others to stand back as he attempted to calm the 30-year-old down.

“He said ‘Luqman, take it easy – put the down the knife. We are here to help you,'” Mr Muse told the court.

Abdishakur Ahmed then allegedly stabbed the man to death.

Mr Muse also said Abdishakur Ahmed’s mental condition had rapidly deteriorated after his wife flew to Perth in November to be with her family ahead of giving birth to their third child.

So worried was Mr Muse about his friend, who was “scared” people were coming after him and had begun “talking to himself”, wobbling and frequently vomiting, that he took him home for a night to look after him.

He also grabbed Abdishakur Ahmed’s phone and called his father to say his son was unwell.

“Just before the incident happened everything changed,” Mr Muse told the court.

Meanwhile, Abdishakur Ahmed’s aunt, Maryan Tallan, on Wednesday said she hid all the knives in her home before the visitors arrived on the morning Mr Farah was killed.

Ms Tallan did not see the alleged stabbing.

But she heard screaming and tried to apprehend her nephew, who also attacked his friend, Abdullahi Moallim, after he grabbed the knife Abdishakur Ahmed was holding by the blade.

“When the guy (Mr Moallim) held his knife hand I managed to hold his other hand as well,” Ms Tallan said through a Somali interpreter.

Mr Moallim suffered significant lacerations to his left hand, the court was previously told.

“I saw him in the kitchen with a knife. He was holding it backwards – with the sharp edge backwards,” Mr Moallim said.

“Everything was chaos.”

Another member of the group which visited Abdishakur Ahmed at the apartment said mental health problems are stigmatised and not widely acknowledged in Somali culture.

“People don’t like to talk about it,” he told the court on Tuesday.

The man also said Abdishakur Ahmed was “out of control” before the alleged murder.

Abdishakur Ahmed has also been charged with intentionally causing injury to Mr Moallim.

It is his first time in custody.

The committal hearing continues on Thursday.

Australian Associated Press

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