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Asylum seeker who assaulted reporter at protest in London is accused of trying to steal phones

Soofuu Yakr, 26, admitted assaulting Nine News Australia's Sophie Walsh

Soofuu Yakr, 26, admitted assaulting Nine News Australia’s Sophie Walsh

An Algerian asylum seeker who assaulted an Australian reporter on live television in London has had his sentencing delayed and moved to Newcastle.

Soofuu Yakr was armed with a screwdriver when he grabbed Nine News correspondent Sophie Walsh around her waist and made stabbing motions while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ during a live cross from a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park on June 3.

The 25-year-old was due to be sentenced in London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to possessing an offensive weapon, possessing cannabis and assault by beating.

But Judge Sally Cahill adjourned the case as Yakr was still awaiting trial in Newcastle Crown Court for alleged conspiracy to steal 25 mobile phones from women.

She said sentencing him for his attack on Walsh could trigger a deportation recommendation before he faced trial for conspiracy.

Nine News' Europe correspondent Sophie Walsh was seen clearly shaken after the attack while covering the Black Lives Matter protests in London

Nine News’ Europe correspondent Sophie Walsh was seen clearly shaken after the attack while covering the Black Lives Matter protests in London

The incident took place on London's Park Lane

Ms Walsh told her colleague: 'A man just came up and grabbed me'

After the incident on London’s Park Lane, Ms Walsh told her colleague: ‘Sorry, I just had someone come up and try and… yeah. A man just came up and grabbed me’

‘It seems to me it is appropriate this should be adjourned and this should be sent to Newcastle so it can be dealt with once and for all,’ Judge Cahill ordered.

Yakr is expected to make a plea in the conspiracy hearing on August 20.

Earlier, Crown Advocate Carol Summers told the court Yakr had pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity and Walsh hadn’t been physically hurt during the incident.

‘Although that was a stabbing motion she felt nothing sharp and suffered no injuries as a result,’ Summers said.

Footage showed a man being detained by two police officers, above, and held against a car bonnet. Ms Walsh later wrote on Twitter she is 'shaken but okay'

Footage showed a man being detained by two police officers, above, and held against a car bonnet. Ms Walsh later wrote on Twitter she is ‘shaken but okay’

The cameraman, Jason Conduit, is pictured chasing the man with a light stand. Senior producer Michelle Taverniti tweeted: 'Incredibly brave. We¿re all thankful they¿re alright'

The cameraman, Jason Conduit, is pictured chasing the man with a light stand. Senior producer Michelle Taverniti tweeted: ‘Incredibly brave. We’re all thankful they’re alright’

She explained that after the attack the Algerian lingered around with his hands in his pockets continuing to say: ‘Allahu Akbar’.

Summers said only when a police car on patrol arrived did he start running away.

She said Nine News camera operator Jason Conduit then chased Yakr, who the officers in the car promptly arrested.

He was taken for questioning at Charing Cross Police Station, but Summers said Yakr only made a single statement: ‘I completely deny making any threats to kill anybody whilst I was in attendance in Hyde Park today’.

The crown advocate said he answered “no comment” to any further questions asked of him.

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