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‘Pool of blood’: Half-naked man stages frenzied attack outside pharmacy

A man has been charged after a woman was attacked with a brick and a stick outside a Stoke-on-Trent Pharmacy and a former boxer stepped in to intervene.

A man has been charged after a frenzied assault on a woman outside a Stoke-on-Trent pharmacy last week (April 10), local police have announced.

CCTV footage shared with C+D by Derby Street Pharmacy owner Navid Kaleem shows a bald, bare-chested man attacking a woman with a brick and a stick on the street outside the pharmacy. 

But another man, identified as former boxer Tayyib Muqeem, parked his car and swiftly intervened. 

Though dressed formally in a thobe for Eid, Muqeem confronted the man, caught a brick thrown at him and kept the assailant’s attention on him. 

Fearlessly corralled by Muqeem and another passer-by, the bare-chested brick thrower disappears from the view of the camera, as the injured woman lay on the pavement attended to by a friend.

Read more: Assault on retail workers to be made ‘standalone’ crime

Very soon afterwards, police arrived on the scene and arrested a man.

Gary Kirkham, aged 42 and of no fixed abode, was charged with two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, one count of assaulting a person thereby occasioning actual bodily harm, affray, breaching a criminal behaviour order and two counts of criminal damage, Staffordshire Police said last week (April 12).

 

“Not serious” injuries

 

Another report from Staffordshire Police last week (April 11) said that the victim’s injuries were “thankfully…not serious”. 

It added that police had been called to Derby Street in Hanley at 1.25pm on April 10, after receiving reports of a man “causing a disturbance”.

Footage from other cameras shows the man clambering over a building while carrying a broken broom and gesticulating wildly. 

Read more: ‘Brushed under the carpet’

At one point, footage shows the man bashing through a portion of corrugated iron roof.

Moments before he attacked the woman, the shirtless man can be seen jumping on cars and trying to hit vehicles as they drive by.

 

“Lock the doors”

 

Kaleem told C+D that he had been working at the other pharmacy that he owns, Norfolk Street Pharmacy in Shelton, when he received a call from the staff at Derby Street telling him that someone had been attacked outside the pharmacy and that there was a “pool of blood”.

He told the staff to “lock the pharmacy doors” and call an ambulance and the police, and then to close for the day after contacting the NHS and local GP surgeries.

Read more: Sex crimes in pharmacies soar 55%

But Kaleem said that the staff, though shaken, “bravely remained at the pharmacy” dealing with urgent matters and only unlocking the door to hand over prescriptions.

“They didn't want to let anyone down,” he said.

 

History of violence

 

Kaleem said that the attack brought back memories of another violent incident at the Derby Street Pharmacy in 2019. 

On that occasion, the pharmacy staff had been threatened by an armed man who forced them to open the controlled drugs cabinet “at knife point”, “drank half a bottle of methadone” and stabbed a police officer in the hand while he was being apprehended outside the pharmacy, he told C+D.

Read more: Burglars pilfer perfume and aftershave in Dudley Boots break-in

Kaleem said that last week’s incident had been “triggering”, adding that pharmacists work in “quite a dangerous environment” and often deal with intoxicated people or those experiencing issues that affect their mental health who can “lash out”. 

“It's a very deprived area and it's becoming more and more dangerous with these random acts of violence,” said Kaleem, who has owned the pharmacy for a decade.

Read more: Pharmacy worker felt 'horrible' after being flashed by patient

He said that the violence seen outside his pharmacy, which was converted from a pub, should not be the “norm” in Hanley.

“Even though this attack was not directly towards our pharmacy staff…the attacker did cause criminal damage and vandalism to the back of our pharmacy before going on to attack the lady,” he added.

 

Local hero

 

Kaleem said that Muqeem, a “well-loved” figure known in the community as Mr T, runs a removal company.

Muqeem was a boxer “in the days of Prince Naseem” and had been celebrating Eid in the area when he noticed the commotion outside the pharmacy, he added.

Despite the assailant's larger size, Muqeem “was able to take him down and the police took over”, Kaleem told C+D.

Read more: ‘Large quantity’ of prescription-only drugs stolen in late night pharmacy raid

He commended both Muqeem and the police, who he said “reacted very quickly”.

But he said that he doesn’t know how to ensure his staff work in a safe environment, despite the pharmacy’s CCTV cameras and panic alarms.

“Someone could just come in and pull out a knife,” he said. “Pharmacies deserve to be protected.”

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