Skip to content or view screen version


Andre Paine | 25.11.2004 15:11 | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Repression | London

Even when the security guard tried to pull Mr Said to safety, the student said the attackers threw bottles, forcing the doorman to lock the doors to ensure his safety.

Note: the Household Cavalry is stationed at:

Combermere Barracks
St Leonards Road


Soldiers held over attack
By Andre Paine
Evening Standard
24 November 2004

Five members of the Household Cavalry have been arrested over an attack in which a wealthy Arab lost an eye.

The soldiers were held by police after Adnan Said was assaulted outside an nightclub in Knightsbridge.

One of his attackers thrust a bottle into the 23-year-old victim's face, causing such serious injuries that he lost the sight of his left eye.

The Syrian student was set upon outside the Wellington Club where he was heading with friends and family.

Mr Said is now being treated at the Western Eye Hospital in Marylebone.

His uncle Wafic Said, 65, is a Syrianborn billionaire who is now a citizen of Saudi Arabia. In the late Eighties he brokered a ?20billion arms deal between the Thatcher government and Saudi Arabia.

Five troopers were arrested after Friday's incident, which is being treated by police as grievous bodily harm. The soldiers, aged between 18 and 23, have been released on bail and remain on duty at Knightsbridge Barracks.

Today Mr Said described his ordeal - and said he believed the assault happened after his assailants heard him speaking in Arabic, his native language.

Mr Said, an engineering student at University College London, said: "I've lost my eye but I'm coping. They may have to operate again to remove the eye and replace it with an artificial one."

The incident happened at about 10pm as Mr Said and a group of friends arrived outside the Wellington Club. "I was speaking Arabic," he said. "That is the only reason I think they started swearing at us. They were saying things like 'you dirty f*****g foreigner'.

"I turned my back - I didn't want trouble - but a guy splashed beer all over me.

"I got cross, but I didn't finish my sentence, because I was hit in the face with a bottle. I had my hand in my face and there was blood everywhere. It was crazy. A bouncer pulled me into the club."

Even when the security guard tried to pull Mr Said to safety, the student said the attackers threw bottles, forcing the doorman to lock the doors to ensure his safety.

He added: "I don't know why it started. It is the last thing I thought would happen in the middle of Knightsbridge.

"These people acted as if it was war. I thought there would not be this problem in London, but there are people who hate us. But I will stay in London - I live here."

Mr Said's cousin Mohamad Esreb, 24, who lives with him in St John's Wood and saw the attack, said: "He is not a trouble-maker, just a student who was attacked."

A police spokesman said: "Police were called to Knightsbridge to reports of a fight involving around 10 men in the vicinity of the Wellington Club. A 23-yearold man was taken to St Mary's hospital suffering serious head and facial injuries."

An army spokesman confirmed that five members of the Household Cavalry were arrested and released on bail. "They are back at work," he said.

Andre Paine


Display the following 2 comments

  1. so this is London — merat Smith
  2. From a friend, — yasmine de Aranda