Teenager pleads guilty to stabbing United States tourist to death in London

A teenager who killed an American tourist and injured five others when he ran amok with a knife in London's Russell Square could be locked up indefinitely.

Zakaria Bulhan, 19, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility in the August 3 slaying of 64-year-old Darlene Horton of Tallahassee, Florida.

Bulhan, a 19-year old Somali-Norwegian who moved to the United Kingdom in 2002, admitted to committing manslaughter on grounds of being in a poor mental state, the BBC reported. He killed 64 year old retired teacher Darlene Horton and wounded five others during the knife attack in London's Russell Square.

He denied allegations of murder and attempted murder, and prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told the court guilty pleas to the lesser charges had been accepted following assessment of Bulhan by psychiatrists.

At Monday's hearing, Bulhan also admitted five counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Shortly afterwards, Bulhan was arrested by police, who subdued him with a stun gun.

The attack sparked a major police operation and initially there were fears that it might be linked to terrorism.

"For that reason, we have agreed to accept Bulhan's guilty plea to manslaughter based on his diminished responsibility", the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement.

She was due to return to their home in Tallahassee the following day.

Mother-of-two Mrs Horton was visiting London with her husband, Richard Wagner, a university professor from Florida who was teaching summer classes.

Mr Wagner said there was an irony to the fact that his high school sweetheart, a former special needs teacher, lost her life to mental illness.

"This was quickly found not to be the case and we now know Bulhan was suffering a severe episode of mental health", Lynes said.

A sentencing hearing for Bulhan began Monday and will continue Tuesday.

  • Rogelio Becker