A 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after allegedly driving his car into a knife attacker who had stabbed a woman in the street.
The driver mowed down a 41-year-old man in Maida Vale, west London on Monday in an apparent bid to stop the attack.
Horror unfolded as the woman, 43, was stabbed multiple times in Chippenham Road in front of horrified commuters at around 9am.
The attacker, who police said was known to the woman, was found under a vehicle. Both he and the woman were pronounced dead at the scene.
A blue Renault Clio collided with the wall of St Peter’s Church on Chippenham Road. Forensic officers have been inspecting the vehicle.
An eyewitness told The Independent the attacker was holding a kitchen knife that looked about 10cm long.
Jiyad Raad, a structural engineer who has lived on Chippenham Road for more than 10 years, added: “This morning I heard someone shouting ‘help help’.
“I go out, I see a woman on the floor and a guy with a knife. I see him three to four times stab her with the knife in the neck.
“I come to him and he scared me with the knife. I said ‘please don’t do it’.
“Then he came and stabbed her again another two to three times until the guy with the blue car in the street tried to stop him and crashed into him with a car.
“The guy with the knife died. The driver tried to save the girl. There was so much blood from the girl – I couldn’t stop it. It’s so sad. She was just a young woman.”
The knifeman stabbed the woman “about 10 times” and was wearing a hood and a mask, eyewitness Sam Talal said.
The man in the vehicle who tried to save the woman appeared to be Middle Eastern and in his early 20s, he added.
A resident of adjacent Grittleton Road said she heard “loud screams” and looked outside to see “lots of people running – I think to help. It’s so sad.”
A resident of Chippenham Road, who did not want to be named, said that the knifeman did not die instantly after being hit by the car.
She said: “My son was at home and he was screaming ‘someone is stabbing a lady outside’. I went to the window I saw a lady on the floor and someone above her stabbing her.
“I only saw his back. I thought he was beating her up. There were other ladies on the street shouting, ‘Help, call the police’. Another guy tried to help, then the knifeman chased him. At that minute I saw the knife.
“A man with a blue car came and hit the guy that had the knife.”
She added: “It’s awful. I just took my son to school – he was shaken. My husband went running to help.
“The knifeman didn’t die instantly, he was asking for help under the car.
“The lady was breathing, so my husband and another guy tried to help her. They put their hand under her head and took her stuff and put it in her bag – a mobile and car keys. Then the police came.”
As well as police officers, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended the incident.
A spokesperson for the ambulance service has said: “We sent a number of resources to the scene, including two ambulance crews, two clinical team leaders, an advanced paramedic, two tactical response units, a medic in a car, an incident response officer and members of our hazardous area response team.
“We also dispatched by road London’s Air Ambulance. Despite our medics’ efforts, two people died at the scene.”
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood said: “This was a terrible incident that occurred in broad daylight on a busy London street. It also appears that a number of members of the public bravely tried to intervene to stop the attack.
“A man has been arrested in relation to the case; we are not aware of any links between this man and the two deceased. I can also confirm that we are not currently looking for anyone else in connection to this incident.
“A team of detectives are working to establish the circumstances of the incident and I would ask the public to avoid speculating on what may have happened while these initial enquiries take place.
“A number of people have already come forward, but we are still asking for anyone to make contact with us. Any information could be vital in helping us understand why this dreadful incident happened.”
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, also urged anyone with information relevant to the “horrific” incident to get in touch with police.
Horrific events this morning in Elgin Avenue, which will be devastating for family and friends of those killed and also for the local community. Anyone with information please call 101 ref 1496/24th Jan or contact Crimestoppers if anonymous. https://t.co/ttwMuwgupL
— Karen Buck (@KarenPBuckMP) January 24, 2022
Cllr Tim Roca, for the Harrow Road ward, said on Twitter: “Just hearing about the tragic events on Chippenham road this morning.
“Absolutely awful news and fair to say the community is in shock.”
Witnesses are asked to call police on 101, citing the reference 1496/24jan. To remain anonymous please contact Crimestoppers.