The Telegraph 2024-05-01 01:00:43

Boy, 14, killed in daylight sword rampage

An attacker wielding a samurai sword killed a 14-year-old schoolboy in a daylight rampage in north-east London, with Rishi Sunak saying: “Such violence has no place on our streets.”

The 22-minute attack, which happened in Hainault and was filmed and uploaded to social media in almost real time by witnesses, began just before 7am.

The teenager who died was thought to have been on his way to school and is believed to be from a Nigerian family. Four other people, including two police officers, were wounded.

Footage posted on social media appeared to show officers confronting the attacker as a body lay on the street nearby. Police later pleaded with the public not to share graphic images and videos.

A 36-year-old man who was Tasered close to the scene was arrested on suspicion of murder, but was taken to hospital and had yet to be questioned on Tuesday night.

The suspect had earlier rammed a van into a house before he began prowling the streets and attacking victims at random. Police said the attack was not believed to have been targeted or terror-related.

Mr Sunak paid tribute to the courage of the police officers who tackled the assailant, but stressed that such an incident should never have happened.

He said: “This is a shocking incident. My thoughts are with those affected and their families. I would like to thank the emergency services for their ongoing response and pay tribute to the bravery shown by police on the scene. Such violence has no place on our streets.”

The attack came as new figures showed that knife crime in London has hit a record high, overtaking the previous peak in 2019, when there was also a surge in murders.

It happened shortly before Thursday’s mayoral election, at which violence in London is expected to be a key issue as Sadiq Khan’s record comes under scrutiny.

The mayor was challenged over the presence of gangs armed with machetes in the capital by Susan Hall, his Conservative rival, last week but brushed off the concerns, telling her that she should “stop watching The Wire. We’re not living in Baltimore, USA, in the noughties”.

On Tuesday, Mr Khan said he was “absolutely devastated” by the events and praised those who had gone to the aid of the wounded. He said: “The police officers and emergency services showed the best of our city – running towards danger to protect others – and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

Following the incident, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said the King’s “thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, in particular the family of the young victim who has lost his life”.

After crashing the grey Ford Transit van in Thurlow Gardens shortly before 7am, the assailant, wearing a yellow hoodie, went on his rampage.

After being pursued into an alleyway, he climbed on to garages before making his way through people’s gardens as residents were urged to lock themselves in their homes. 

He was eventually cornered on a driveway, with doorbell camera footage capturing the moment he was Tasered, disarmed by a female officer and arrested.

Speaking at a press conference near the scene a short time later, Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell confirmed that a murder investigation had been launched.

He said: “It is with great sadness that I confirm one of those injured in the incident, a 14-year-old boy, has died from their injuries. He was taken to hospital after being stabbed and sadly died a short while after.”

Chief Superintendent Bell said the teenager’s family was being supported by specially trained officers. He refused to be drawn on claims by locals that the suspect had previously been arrested by police.

But addressing reporters several hours later, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “We know there is speculation about his background, including police contact with him. Despite urgent checks of our system today, we have found no trace of a prior incident involving him so far, but we will of course continue to make those inquiries.”

Assistant Commissioner Rolfe said the suspect had been taken to hospital following his arrest after sustaining injuries in the earlier crash. She described it as a “fast-moving, complex incident and investigation”, and said it would take some time to establish all the facts.

“We are really keen to speak to anyone who witnessed this incident or has any relevant information, and would ask they come forward as soon as possible,” she added.

She urged people to think carefully about what they posted on social media, saying: “There are some graphic images circulating online, and people should consider the impact of this on the families and those who are closely affected by this incident.”

It is thought the injured police officers, who required surgery, were unarmed and tackled the man despite not being equipped with Tasers.

Rick Prior, the head of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “This horrific incident is a sad reminder of the incredible bravery our officers display and the dangers they face to keep the public in London safe day in and day out.”

The federation, which represents rank and file officers in the capital, has called for all officers who want to carry a Taser to be equipped with one.

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First failed asylum seeker removed to Rwanda

Britain has removed the first failed asylum seeker to Rwanda under a voluntary scheme drawn up by the Government to help clear the backlog of migrants stuck in Britain.

The unnamed migrant was flown out of the UK on Monday evening to Rwanda, where he will be able to start a new life under an agreement negotiated earlier this year.

The deal, which is separate to the enforced deportation scheme, is aimed at removing migrants whose claims have been rejected and cannot remain in the UK but are unable to return to their own country.

In return for the £3,000 support normally offered to repatriated migrants and the prospect of citizenship in Rwanda, he was flown by the Government to the central African state, which is deemed by the Government a safe third country.

The scheme is not designed to deter crossings but instead mirrors the existing voluntary returns system that enables failed asylum seekers, foreign criminals and other migrants with no right to remain in the UK to return to their home country.

Under these voluntary returns schemes, they can receive financial assistance worth up to £3,000 to return to their “country of origin”.

Scheme is ‘legal as resettlements are voluntary’

Monday’s Rwanda deportation is the first of its kind because it is the first time a migrant has been paid to leave the UK without going back to their country of origin.

Ministers believe this scheme is legal, as resettlements would be voluntary.

After his bid to stay in Britain was rejected at the end of 2023, the man – who is of African origin – voluntarily accepted passage to a new life in the central African nation.

It comes ahead of Rishi Sunak’s efforts to get the first enforced migrant deportation flights off the ground in 10 to 12 weeks.

‘I fled to Ireland from Britain to avoid being deported to Rwanda’

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More than 5,700 migrants have been identified for removal but only 2,145 of them continue to report to the Home Office and can be located for detention, according to a document released on Monday.

The Home Office has insisted that the remaining 3,557 have not necessarily absconded but are not subject to the same reporting restrictions, which means they are likely to be more difficult to locate for detention.

Missing migrants ‘will end up in Ireland’

Kevin Saunders, who was Border Force’s chief immigration officer from 2001 to 2016, warned the 3,500 were likely to disappear and probably end up in Ireland.

He said that the migrants were originally identified for deportation to Rwanda after arriving in 2022 and 2023 but had so far avoided removal.

“Now that we have the new Rwanda Act on the table, they are worried they are going to be removed so they have done a disappearing act,” said Mr Saunders.

Asked on BBC Radio 4 if the Home Office was wrong to claim they were not missing, he said: “I would not like to say the Home Office are telling porkies. Let’s say they temporarily cannot find them.

“It is people they have lost contact with. They are not going to appear, certainly not in the UK. They will probably turn up in Ireland. They know they are in the frame to be removed. They don’t want to be removed so they are going to disappear.”

Mr Saunders said he still believed the Rwanda deportation scheme would work and would act as a deterrent but he said he would have preferred for all migrants entering the UK illegally across the Channel to be detained, despite the huge cost.

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King assures fellow cancer sufferers he is ‘fine’

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How ‘desperate screams’ woke quiet neighbourhood to swordsman’s bloody rampage

Shortly before 7am, residents of the quiet north-east London neighbourhood of Hainault were awoken by a series of piercing screams and the sound of a van crashing into a home.

During the terrifying 22 minutes that followed, a lone man wielding a sword went on a violent and bloody rampage that culminated in the death of a 14-year-old schoolboy – with his actions filmed by witnesses and uploaded to social media almost in real time.

The teenager, possibly attacked as he walked to school, was among five people – including two police officers – who suffered serious injuries in what is believed to have been a series of random and apparently motiveless attacks. The four survivors were yesterday being treated in hospital.

Here is a minute-by-minute account of how the incident unfolded.


Police receive 999 calls 

Redbridge Borough Police receive calls reporting a vehicle being driven into a house in the Thurlow Gardens area of Hainault, north-east London. 

A witness told The Telegraph a man was then “stabbed in the neck by the driver” after approaching the vehicle to check on the motorist’s welfare. 

The attacker then gets back in the grey van, reverses and drives off.

The suspect is photographed from a top floor bedroom window on Laing Close wearing a yellow hooded top and carrying a sword. It is believed he drove his van to this street after ramming a residential home nearby.


Attack unfolds

A resident photographs the man face-on striding along Laing Close, carrying the sword in his right hand.

A police officer stands just yards in front of the suspect, with the body of an injured passerby lying to his left. The suspect shouts at officers: “Is there anybody here who believes in God?”

The suspect is believed to have cut through an alleyway on to Franklyn Gardens, where he is again photographed walking down the street.

A police car approaches the suspect. forcing him to turn back on to Franklyn Gardens, where it is believed he walked towards another alleyway. 

A policewoman on foot approaches him and orders him to put down the weapon.

Another police car approaches and the suspect flees.

The man runs into an alleyway of garages tucked between Franklyn Gardens and Thurlow Gardens. A police car follows him and three officers, including a female officer on foot, shout: “Come here. Drop the sword.” 

The suspect disappears behind a garage. A video shows the officers approaching, warning each other “easy, easy” in case he emerges. 

He is then spotted on top of the garages before he drops down into the back garden of one of the homes on Thurlow Gardens. 

Someone is heard shouting: “He’s going in people’s gardens, man. Lock your doors. Lock your doors. Everyone lock your doors.” 

One officer explains they believe him to be “going out of a side gate”.


Suspect is arrested 

The suspect is tasered and arrested in Thurlow Gardens before being handcuffed and dragged into the back of a police van. A witness estimates around eight officers are needed to hold him down. 


Emergency services assist police

The London Fire Brigade is called to assist police and paramedics in an “incident near Hainault” Tube station.

‘He’s got a massive knife’: Terrified neighbours recall horrific scene 

Residential streets near Hainault Tube went into lockdown as petrified homeowners bolted their doors and hid after spotting a bearded man, who wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt and shouting about God, prowling the streets.

He was pursued by police some on foot and armed only with Tasers as he roamed from door to door, clambering on to garage roofs, vaulting fences and running through back gardens. He was eventually tasered and arrested on suspicion of murder. No one else was being sought in connection with the murder and attacks, which police said were not terror-related.

While the motive for the attack remains a mystery, much of the police hunt and the man’s erratic behaviour were captured on mobile phones and posted on social media, often by residents leaning out of upstairs windows or by those caught up in the chaos as they walked to work.

The “serious incident” began at about 6.53am when police received a flurry of 999 calls from Thurlow Gardens after a grey Ford Transit van rammed into the side of a house.

A witness told the Telegraph a passerby went to check on the motorist but was instead set upon by the driver.

The local man, called Brandon, said: “A van had driven straight into the side of the house opposite me. I heard a load of screaming and it turned out a man who had gone to see if the motorist was OK got stabbed in the neck by the driver.

“The driver then got back in his car and reversed out the side of the house to drive up the back road opposite where it all started kicking off again. I could hear more people running and screaming.”

The London ambulance service was alerted at 6.54am to reports of stabbings at Hainault Tube station. By then, police were on the scene, challenging the man after he had abandoned his van in nearby Laing Close, where he is understood to have attacked the teenager believed to have been dressed in school uniform.

One witness said: “I heard shouting, I heard shrieking – I thought ‘who would be shrieking at this time in the morning?’

“The shrieking sounded like the police – you know when they are ordering someone to stop or to get on their knees or something – it was like that.

“It was like ‘stop where you are, put that down, put that down’ – that kind of thing.

“I looked out the back window because the noise was coming from back there. I saw a bloke dressed in yellow jumping over some fences … then he went down an alley like he was going back onto the street again.

“I saw a policeman and policewoman – normal coppers with the short-sleeved shirts – who chased after him, and they were shouting for him to put it down.”

One Laing Close resident, who did not want to be named, said she saw a man wielding the sword and standing just outside her house alongside what appeared to be a body lying on the ground.

“He was wielding his sword trying to attack the police but then they sprayed him and he ran away,” she said. “He was shouting at the police ‘do you believe in God?

“We were very scared and trying to hide and not show ourselves through the window, because he was standing right next to our house and he could have seen us if he looked up.

“We were trying to hide but also at the same time taking video of him attacking the police, and of the body on the floor, so, yeah, we were very scared and we didn’t know what to do.”

In another video clip, filmed by a resident, a police car arrives before the man verbally confronts the officer and shouts “is there anybody here who believes in God?” while standing next to the motionless body on the ground.

Ela Zaniewska, 46, an insurance worker, said she heard a “desperate scream”.

“I got up and had a quick look at what’s going on. There were blue lights everywhere. At some point I heard a woman screaming and crying. I just heard screams. It sounded like a desperate scream. I couldn’t see much but I could hear a lot of noises.”

Another witness said there were a series of stand-offs between police and the suspect in an alleyway leading to Franklyn Gardens.

The man, who asked not to be named, said: “I also heard the words ‘he’s got a massive sword’. Then he disappeared down this alley and out of sight.

“They [the police] went into the alley and there seemed to be some sort of a stand-off there where I heard this huge commotion, then I heard a scream.

“From that commotion at least one person was knifed – I think it might have been a woman because I heard a woman scream and then some sort of sobbing sounds.

“I then heard a voice say something like ‘she’s been stabbed in the face’ or ‘we need assistance’ – you know, calling for medical back-up.”

It is understood the man had run to Franklyn Gardens, before a police patrol car was filmed approaching him, while another officer was on foot.

A video posted online then showed the man emerging from the alley having clambered on top of a row of garages. Three police cautiously followed him, warning one another: “Easy, easy.”

In another clip, someone is heard shouting: “He’s going in people’s gardens, man. Lock your doors. Lock your doors. Everyone lock your doors.”

One officer is heard warning that he or she believed they heard him “going out of a side gate”.

The man then ran back to Thurlow Garden, just yards from where he had rammed the house with his van.

Witnesses said he was eventually tasered at 7.15am on Laing Close. As the man collapsed to the ground, about eight officers “jumped on him”, one witness said. The man was handcuffed and bundled into the back of a van. An officer was seen removing the sword.

A photograph taken by a security doorbell captures the man swinging the sword at the moment he was being tasered.

A witness told Sky News: “There was a massive response from the police; there were lots of them, at least a dozen.

“They all ran up to the driveway shouting and screaming at him to put a big samurai sword down. He was shouting back at them.

“They tasered him. Then seven or eight of them piled on top of him. They were there for about 15 minutes before picking him up off the floor and putting him in the back of the [police] van. They arrested him at [about] 7.15am.”

A neighbour on that street, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I heard police sirens and then the car stopped here for three seconds, which was a bit odd. I opened the door and I could see armed police officers.

“I saw a gentleman, a white guy, running, being chased by the police.

“He went into that driveway and he was being tasered, being told to stop, then he jumped into that other neighbour’s driveway.

“He was being tasered, went to the floor with all the armed police officers around and he was subdued there for half an hour.

“I think he mentioned something about God and attempted murder. He was quite resisting [arrest].”

Nagesh Katipally, who also lives in Thurlow Gardens, said: “When the police came they took the knife and they wrapped him up in a black sheet. There was no blood on him. He was showing resistance, and four officers took him into the van.

“It was like a big cloth he was wrapped in. They put it over his head and then around the rest of his body, then they lifted it up and carried him away.

“Once he was contained in the sheet they pushed him into the van. I saw a police officer carrying the machete afterwards.”

The attacks carried out in daylight and resulting in the death of a schoolboy sent shockwaves through the country.

Rishi Sunak paid tribute to the bravery of emergency services who responded to the 999 calls.

“I’d like to give my thanks to the emergency teams that are responding and to pay tribute to their bravery,” the Prime Minister said.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said he was “absolutely devastated” by the attack and thanked the emergency services for “running towards danger”.

At a press conference held near the scene, the officers who challenged the attacker were praised by Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge council, for being “heroic” for putting themselves in “harm’s way”.

Rick Prior, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the thoughts of London’s police officers were with the family of the 14-year-old boy and all of those injured, including the two officers.

“This horrific incident is a sad reminder of the incredible bravery our officers display and the dangers they face to keep the public in London safe, day in and day out,” he said.

Rumours were circulating locally that police had gone to see the man on Monday, fewer than 24 hours before the attacks. However, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe told a press conference near the scene there was nothing to suggest there had been any contact with the man before the attacks.

She said: “The 36-year-old man arrested at the scene is currently in hospital having suffered injuries when his van collided with a building.

“He has been arrested on suspicion of murder. At this time, given his injuries, we have been unable to interview him.

“Our thoughts of course remain with the family and friends of the 14-year-old boy who very sadly died here this morning.

“We’re also thinking of the two members of the public who were injured, as well as brave officers who were stabbed.”

Wes Streeting, the local MP for Ilford North, said the “whole community will be devastated by the heartbreaking news” that a teenager had been killed in “the horrific sword attack”.

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Playboy bunny’s lawyer ‘asked to be Isle of Man ambassador for killing Trump story’

A Playboy bunny’s lawyer asked to be made ambassador to the Isle of Man in return for killing the story of her alleged affair with Donald Trump.

Karen McDougal claimed she embarked on a 10-month affair with Mr Trump in 2006, having met him when he filmed an episode of the Celebrity Apprentice at the Playboy mansion.

In 2016, her lawyer, Keith Davidson, asked the publishing company AMI for more than $1 million for the rights to her story in addition to a “consulting gig” for his client, Mr Trump’s “hush money” trial heard on Tuesday.

Haggling over prices with Dylan Howard, editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, he suggested $1 million up-front with a yearly $75,000 for Ms McDougal working as a fitness correspondent for AMI publications.

When Mr Howard said the offer would be “more hundreds than millions”, Mr Davidson proposed an initial $800,000 followed by a $100,000 salary for the next two years.

He added: “Throw in an ambassadorship for me. I’m thinking Isle of Man.”

Speaking in court on Tuesday, Mr Davidson described the comment as “a joke”. “I know they don’t have an ambassador, but I think it was a reference to Mr Trump’s candidacy”, he added.

AMI eventually paid $150,000 to Ms McDougal for the rights to her story. Prosecutors argue that its chief executive expected to be reimbursed for the payment by Mr Trump, which did not happen.

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D-Day beach cafe ‘hates the English and refused to serve British soldiers’

A Second World War tour guide has criticised a cafe overlooking Normandy’s Omaha beach, claiming it declined to serve a group of visiting British soldiers “because they are English…

Rishi Sunak will not take back migrants because of general election, says Irish PM

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