Ex-Guantanamo detainee from East Ham attacked traffic warden

16:00 02 March 2012

A one-armed former Guantanamo Bay detainee who attacked a traffic warden who he thought was spying on him has been spared imprisonment.

Tarek Dergoul, of Holland Road, East Ham, was in a bicycle shop when he spotted warden John Onywera issuing a ticket.

The 33-year-old, who accuses his former American captors of beatings and intimidation, thought the warden was snooping on him when he took the pictures of his illegally parked car.

Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court was shown CCTV footage of Dergoul confronting Mr Onywera on the kerbside before charging at him in the middle of the road, grabbing him and attempting a judo-style trip.

Assisted by an unidentified accomplice, Dergoul pursued the warden to the other side of the road in Camden and started kicking his legs.

Forced to the ground under a hail of blows from the pair, the civil enforcement officer was forced to protect his camera and notebook evidence during the assault on August 6 last year.

Mr Onywera said: “First of all they said they were looking for change.

“But I told them I had already issued the penalty.

“I continued taking pictures to prove the car was parked. But when I crossed the road to take pictures, they came charging, saying I was taking pictures of them.

‘Throwing punches’

“He tried to trip me three times and then he was kicking and throwing punches.

“On the other side of the road they were both attacking me. I had injuries to my nose and jaw.

“I lost control and I fell to the ground and one of them sat on me and continued hitting me. I wasn’t sure who was attacking me.”

From the dock Dergoul interrupted the testimony, shouting: “Why did you aggravate the situation taking the pictures?”

He was found guilty of assault by beating.

Judge Nina Tempia said: “The traffic warden was acting correctly in taking the photo of the car. This was an assault on a public servant carrying out his duties.”

Dergoul was sentenced to a 12-month community order, which includes a mental health requirement and supervision order, both for six months.

He was ordered to pay the traffic warden compensation of £30, which will be deducted from his benefits at the rate of £10 a fortnight.

Dergoul was detained in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.

He says he was trying to deal in cheap property when he lost an arm in an explosion. He was sent to Guantanamo, from where he was freed in March 2004.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Friday, July 31, 2015
Thornton Way in Hampstead Garden Suburb

Two women were attacked and made hostages in their own home in a terrifying raid on their Hampstead Garden Suburb house.

Friday, July 31, 2015
One of the men can be seen with a shotgun

This is the terrifying moment a masked gang armed with a shotgun and crowbars broke into a house in Gidea Park – after pulling up in a Porsche.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Police want to speak this woman after a child was kicked repeatedly (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Police are hunting for a woman who was seen hurting a young boy in a shop in Wood Green on Saturday February 28.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Antisemitic crimes have more than doubled in London over the past year (Picture: Getty)

The number of antisemitic hate crimes - including assault, harassment and arson - has more than doubled in London in the space of a year.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Sebastian Szerer, a senior employee at a hotel, raped a man who came for a job interview (Picture: Met Police)

The former head housekeeper has been jailed for ‘luring’ a man, 25, to a fake interview before raping him in the locked suite of a luxury Westminster hotel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Walkers have been urged to report any suspicious activity in the area (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

People are being warned to be vigilant on Hackney Marshes after three women were stalked and hurt in what police believe were sexually-motivated attacks.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more