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What we know about the east London crossbow attacks

Two people have been injured in separate crossbow attacks in Shoreditch, east London, this month.

Police search Culham House in Rochelle Street, Shoreditch, London, as a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after two people were injured by crossbow bolts. (PA)
Police search Culham House in Rochelle Street, Shoreditch, London, as a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after two people were injured by crossbow bolts. (PA)

A man has been arrested after two people were injured in separate crossbow attacks in east London.

The Metropolitan Police said on Monday that it had detained a man on suspicion of attempted murder.

It follows two separate incidents in March that left two people injured by crossbow bolts in Shoreditch.

What we know

A 47-year-old man was arrested in Shoreditch at 11pm on Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder after two people were injured by crossbow bolts.

The man was carrying a knuckle duster and a "bottle containing a substance" when he was arrested, the Metropolitan Police said.

Officers searched his home and found a crossbow, knives and other weapons, which have been sent for forensic examination.

Police had launched a manhunt after a 44-year-old woman was hit in the head with a crossbow bolt as she crossed the road by Clifton House in east London at about 7.44pm on 4 March.

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Just 10 days later, at 7.27pm on 14 March, and about 60m from the scene of the first attack, a 20-year-old man was injured in the neck by a crossbow bolt near Arnold Circus.

The force said the man is in custody at an east London police station and both of the victims in the two incidents are being kept informed.

Subera Rabby, an eyewitness to the first attack, told Sky News how she was one of the first people at the scene, as the victim is a neighbour of hers.

When she first heard "a lot of screaming" she initially dismissed it, thinking it could have been teenagers messing around. But she later heard her neighbour, her husband and her children crying and calling out for an ambulance.

"We have seen car chases and things like that, but nothing of this sort, it's so scary. I'm frightened for my kids, for myself, the fact that now a second incident has taken place, I'm just thinking, it could have been any of us."

Times Radio correspondent Nick Ellerby was at the scene speaking to residents, who have said that locals in the area are "totally freaked out and shocked". He said a neighbour of the first victim said that "kids are sleeping with their parents at the moment because they're worried that they could be next".

Describing how police "swarmed the area" after the second attack, Ellerby said: "There's a perceived lack of action by police in those 10 days from the first attack to the second."

Speaking shortly before the Met Police announced its arrest, Ellerby drew attention to the husband of the first victim putting up posters himself appealing for witnesses, adding: "There's an absolute mistrust in the police in what's going on."

What we don't know

It is not known yet if there was a motive for either of the crossbow attacks, which police described as "linked".

The Metropolitan Police said it is keeping an open mind regarding the motive for the attacks and that its inquiries continue.

One of the crossbow attacks in Shoreditch, east London, took place near Arnold Circus. (Google)
One of the crossbow attacks in Shoreditch, east London, took place near Arnold Circus. (Google)

Police said another crossbow weapon was seized by officers in the period between the two attacks, but that this is being dealt with as part of a separate investigation, but the details of this are unknown.

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting Operation Goldwater, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online.

Could there be a change in crossbow law?

The government is reportedly considering tightening the laws on crossbows to put them under regulations similar to those around firearms.

At the moment, anyone over the age of 18 can legally buy a crossbow. However, if they are found to be carrying it in public without a reasonable excuse they could receive up to four years in prison.

In January, in a separate incident, Bryce Hodgson, 30, was shot dead by police after he broke into a house in south east London armed with weapons including a crossbow and a sword.

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