Hainault: Boy, 14, killed in sword attack

A 14-year-old boy has died after an attacker armed with a sword went on the rampage in north-east London.

Police were called to reports of a car crashing into a house and people being stabbed in Hainault at about 07:00 BST.

The boy was taken to hospital where he later died.

Four other people, including two police officers, were injured before the suspect - who had been leaping over people's garden fences - was cornered and Tasered in a front garden.

The 36-year-old man was arrested and the Metropolitan Police said he was in hospital being treated for injuries sustained when the vehicle he was in crashed into the house.

His condition meant he had not yet been interviewed, police added.

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said their investigations had not discovered any previous contact between the man and the police.

Footage shared on social media showed a man with a long knife in Laing Close.

Ch Supt Stuart Bell acknowledged there would be "understandably, a desire for answers and an explanation as to what happened" and officers were working to "establish the full facts".

Footage taken by a bystander at the scene shows the alleged attacker
Footage taken by a bystander at the scene shows the alleged attacker [UGC]

Ch Supt Bell said the two Met officers had suffered wounds requiring surgery.

He described the officers' stab wounds as "significant" but not life-threatening.

The injuries of the two other members of the public were also "not believed to be life-threatening".

Ch Supt Bell said police did not believe there was any ongoing threat to the wider public and they were not seeking any other suspects.

He added he did not believe it was terror-related and was not a "targeted" attack.

A map showing the location of Thurlow Gardens
Police said a vehicle was driven into a house in the Thurlow Gardens area and footage shared on social media showed a man with a long knife in Laing Close [BBC]

Witness James Fernando said he saw the suspect ask one of his neighbours to take his phone and "tell whoever was on the phone his location".

The 39-year-old said the neighbour soon noticed the sword and started running.

As she fled, the woman shouted to another neighbour, a boy on his way to school, who was then struck by the attacker as he turned around, he said.

A van hitting a building
Doorbell footage appears to show the attacker's van crashing into a building with someone in its path [BBC]

'Took him down'

Another eyewitness, Chris Bates, who lives in Thurlow Gardens, said he saw the suspect run through the area.

"He ran through the gardens and came out on to the street by the house next door to me," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The police were there. He then ran down to two doors down, and tried to get on the sort of scaffold, and they Tasered him and took him down."

Manpreet Singh, who also witnessed the attack, told BBC Radio 5 Live he had walked out of an office when he "heard chaos" on the other side of the road.

"I saw a group of people, five or six of them, trying to fight off a guy - he had a sword in his hand," he said.

Forensic officers work at the scene of an incident
Forensic officers are gathering evidence and information at the scene [EPA]

"There was about seven or eight police cars entering that road and, after another 10 minutes, I saw the guy running towards the station and entered the road opposite the station.

"He tried to get into one of the houses but couldn't get into it and that's when they Tasered him."

Hainault London Underground station was closed during the incident and local buses were diverted.

An aerial view of a police cordon at the scene
A police cordon is in place at the scene [PA Media]

Ch Supt Bell said the boy's family was being supported by specialist officers at this "unimaginably difficult time".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "I'm sure I speak for the entire city when I say our thoughts are with this young child and his family."

He said additional uniformed officers would be in the area over the coming days and asked residents in Hainault to pass on any footage recorded on phones or doorbell cameras to the police.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the incident as "shocking", adding: "Such violence has no place on our streets."

'Courageous response'

Wes Streeting, the MP for Ilford North, said the community would be "devastated by the heartbreaking news".

Thanking the emergency services for their "courageous response", he described the officers who had put themselves in harm's way to protect others as "the best of us".

Rick Prior, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the attack was a "sad reminder" of the dangers officers faced to keep Londoners safe.

"It's often forgotten by people who attack our profession and the difficult and dynamic decisions which officers are confronted with on an hourly basis, that we work with heroes whose courage is incredible," he said.

The Metropolitan Police corrected the boy's age to 14 after previously stating that he was 13.

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