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Landlord held at knifepoint by ‘tenant from hell’

A man assaulted his housemates before holding his landlord in a room at knifepoint.

Amin Zehar, 37, was living at a property in Cambridge when he first assaulted one of his housemates.

The victim had knocked on his bedroom door and asked him to keep the noise down, but Zehar took umbrage, grabbed him by the throat and punched him multiple times to the head.


The housemate retreated to his room and informed the landlord, who also lived at the property. The landlord tried to speak with Zehar about his behaviour, but he became abusive once again and shouted at him.

A few days later, Zehar was served an eviction notice due to his violent outbursts and asked to vacate the property by the end of the month.

At the end of the month the locks were changed to prevent him getting back into the property, but he kicked the door in, causing significant damage, and threatened the landlord with a knife, barricading the two of them in his old bedroom.

Other residents at the address called police who arrived swiftly and arrested Zehar.

Zehar pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment with fear of violence, affray and possession of class A and class B. 

He was sentenced to one year and seven months in prison, suspended for two years, at Cambridge Crown Court .

Detective Constable Antonio Fernandez, who investigated, says: “Zehar was an aggressive and volatile housemate from hell who subjected his fellow tenants to regular tirades of violence, abuse and fear. His behaviour was appalling and I’m glad we were able to bring him before the courts.”

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    As usual, a soft sentence.

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    How exactly is a suspended sentence appropriate for that level of behaviour?
    What kind of message does that send to anyone? The landlord and housemate were attacked and threatened in their own home, the place they should feel safest in.

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    Sending the culprit to prison will do what? He has issues which need to be addressed. Will the ex-tenant come out as a reformed character I don’t think so.

    John  Adams

    Ah you feeling ok Jim? you want people who don't check their boilers to go scot free and now violent thugs too.
    I think society needs protection from you.


    Jim - it will give his victims a bit of time to get over the trauma and feel safe for a while.
    I was violently robbed 20 years ago while working as a taxi driver. I was battered with lumps of rock (over 20 separately identifiable injuries mainly to my head). My attackers were drug addicts. For one of them it was their first offense, the other was a juvenile with a lengthy record. Both female. They received 3.5 year custodial sentences. The older one served 16 months, the juvenile a lot longer due to violent outbursts in prison. Those custodial sentences gave me the ability to carry on working (to a limited extent initially). I was eventually awarded criminal injuries compensation for PTSD. So don't downplay the importance of custodial sentences, especially as far as victims are concerned. The mental health impact of violent attacks is immense and the psychological impact of being threatened at knife point is enormous. One of my colleagues needed 3 years of counseling before he could return to work after having a knife held to his throat.


    Huge sympathy Jo! Sounds as though you went through a horrific experience.


    Sorry Jim but you are sounding like a do gooda social worker here, at least if this scum is in prison he's locked up out of our way, hopefully some one inside would set about him that would address his issues


    I was watching Papillon last night with Steve McQueen. We need somewhere like like the penal colony and Devil's Island to send these people.

    • A JR
    • 30 August 2023 21:32 PM

    ‘Sending the culprit to prison will do what’? Keep ‘innocent others’ safe!

  • John  Adams

    Knife Crime....I remember when it was going to get you a 5 year Prison Sentence, until they looked at the demographics and didn't want to be accused of targeting people...
    So there we have it, a criminal justice system that doesn't want to upset people, and instead let's violent thugs and child molesters go walkies.

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    So was this “ gentleman “ a lodger ? Given his months notice and change of locks ? So not a tenant as such 🤷‍♂️


    The landlord lived on the premises, could be either a tenant or lodger?

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    I give up with present day police and courts, hopeless, perhaps we need to take the law into our own hands

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    I can't believe he was not immediately reported to the police and asked to leave, or how the other housemates allowed him to stay. A live-in landlord should in any case be able to remove the person with zero notice, as it will be an excluded tenancy. Even if it was a regular HMO, he could be reported to the police and asked to leave immediately for the safety of other residents.

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    Only in uk can this happen

  • David Irwin

    Sentence is a joke..... Welcome to the UK

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    Jim Halliburton, l don't know what planet you are living on. You are virtue signalling here for your own purposes. Where you are based it's quite rough, l crossed a short dual carriageway nearby, and shot off from the centre, the back door opened and an expensive drill fell out. I stopped nearby and went to retrieve it and someone had already done it. I stopped his van him and took it off him, much to his chagrin.

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    I would think there was a long period of time with problems from this tenant before this final incident. It's a shame the police don't act sooner, before it gets to such physical threats.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    So the detective was really glad that he got him before the courts??? For what ?? The equivalent of a Ticking Off...????

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    Would the landlord have got the suspended sentence????

    Or would he face a rent repayment order, life imprisonment, civil law cases for compensation to families etc?

  • George Dawes

    I find this hard to believe , everyone knows all tenants are cute cuddly soft bunny rabbits and all landlords are satan worshippers at best. /s

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    This shows that the landlord put so much trust in the tenants. The tenants may not pay rent, get violent, even then only way you can evict them is through the courts, as it happened to me. My tenants stopped paying and always pushed me and said never come back to the house. I only went there if they confirmed my going there, not by the guy but his female partner. My brother who once came with me and saw that he pushed me and he said I should not accept this. I said this is not the first time. He took me to the police station and made me write a complaint. The police said he had complained about me, but they did not take him seriously. Their counsellor. They send me ear piercing bell for protection. When I went to give notice for them to leave, he got violet with verbal abuse. The police was once passing by and heard the tenant's shouting and came in as the front door was open. The police said I should get them out. I said they will not sign the s.8 notice. It was also posted before hand with c certificate of posting. His partner had confirmed receipt. The police said he would sign the copy and put down what I wanted. I said, just to state that one copy was hand delivered to the tenants. All this including the case number of abuse and harassment was actually helped me to get rid of the tenants in the court. Also the fact they never attended. I lost 10 months rent altogether and the damage they caused after leaving. Like external pipes were broken and paint thrown at the rear of the property. The police and the next door neighbour, both phoned me. However, the neighbour refused to give the CCTV recording of them doing the damage. They refused me and also the police. This is what police were after for a long time. It was not the first offense, apparently, but no evidence as people feared him. Unfortunately for the landlord, this sort of thing takes a long time to bring to court and the council had advised them not to leave until the bailiff got them out. The council, shelter, Rent Generation all encourage the tenants not to pay and cause havoc. Some people will never have any kind of responsibilities and I do believe those people need to stay in the streets.

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    I understand under new government guidelines tenants will have the '' right" to stab their landlord eight times with a knife up to seven inches long and their children under eleven years old they will have a "right" to stab them four times before they are given a severe telling off


    Anyone comes at me with a knife I''ll return with a 12 bore and give them both barrels, simple as treat others as they treat you


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