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Armed man who "wanted to be shot dead" acquitted after charging at PCs

Jurors at Southwark Crown Court acquitted Prashanth Kandhaiah of attempting to commit GBH after just over an hour of deliberations.

A man with a knife who charged at an armed police officer in Horse Guards Parade in central London has been cleared of trying to stab him after telling a jury he wanted to be shot dead.

On April 18 this year, MoD PCs Ravinder Digpaul and Ryan Pariso were stationed in a courtyard at Horse Guards Parade when an armed Prashanth Kandhaiah ran at them.

Pc Digpaul moved to bring his MP7 carbine rifle into position and changed the safety to fire but lost his footing while being chased.

While on the ground, he kicked out at Kandhaiah - who was armed with  an almost 5in (12.7cm) blade - and readied his Glock pistol to fire. His colleague then Tasered the 30-year-old, who said: “Please shoot me.”

After just over an hour of deliberating on Thursday (October 20), jurors at Southwark Crown Court acquitted him of attempting to commit grievous bodily harm.

Pc Digpaul told the court: “I felt, if he had been able to get past my legs, I believe he would’ve either seriously injured me or killed me.”

The day before the incident Kandhaiah searched online for the 2019 London Bridge terror attack, in which Usman Khan was fatally shot by police after stabbing two people tp death.

Kandhaiah, from Thamesmead, south-east London, told jurors he was not a “terrorist”. “I didn’t go there to stab an officer. I went there to get shot," he said.

Kandhaiah had made at least four attempts to kill himself and told doctors of his suicide-by-police plan as far ago as October 2020, the court was told.

He had also googled terms including “rat poison can kill people”, “I hate Britain” and “police”, prosecutor Suki Dhadda said.

The court heard that Kandhaiah had arrived in Whitehall on an electric bike before producing the blade from his jacket pocket and charging at the officers.

Pc Digpaul said the defendant had “quite an angry look on his face” when he ran towards him and his colleague.

The officer said that, at the point he lost his footing, he was "scared for his life". In body-worn camera footage, Pc Pariso can be heard ordering Kandhaiah to “get down” and “stay down”, who screamed and asked to be shot. 

During the trial, the jury was not told Kandhaiah had already pleaded guilty to having a knife and threatening another person with a blade.

Judge Adam Hiddleston remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing on December 9.

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