A driver who mowed down a knifeman in his car as he stabbed his ex-partner to death in the street has pleaded with the Metropolitan Police to de-arrest him.
The motorist, who is only known as “Abraham”, has said it was “never my intention to harm” Leon McCaskre and that he “just wanted to stop him from hurting anybody further”, during the incident in west London on Monday.
Yasmin Chkaifi died after McCaskre attacked her in front of horrified onlookers in Chippenham Road, Maida Hill.
McCaskre died after being struck by Abraham’s blue Renault Clio.
— Akunjee 🖋 (@mohammedakunjee) January 27, 2022
The driver was arrested on suspicion of murder and has been released on bail until late February while the police investigation continues.
In a statement published by his lawyer Mohammed Akunjee, who has acted for Shamima Begum’s family, on Twitter, Abraham said: “I am a person of good character, I have never been arrested before in my life.
“I witnessed a man repeatedly stabbing a defenceless woman on the pavement a short distance in front of my car.
“Members of the public were attempting to intervene, the attacker was wielding a knife and was threatening those brave citizens too.
“My instant thought was to protect the woman who had been stabbed and the public who were also being threatened…I drove my vehicle towards the attacker in order to get him away from the woman he was attacking.
“I did not intend to harm the attacker, I only intended to protect those being attacked.”
Abraham added that his car stalled after McCaskre went under it, and he and other members of the public attempted to free him so they could give him first aid but were unsuccessful.
“I am deeply sorry that the man I tried to stop from attacking other people has died. It was never my intention to harm him, I just wanted to stop him from hurting anybody further,” he said.
Abraham said he did not understand why he remained arrested but on bail under suspicion of murder.
He added he has asked Mr Akunjee to contact the Metropolitan Police to request they consider de-arresting him and “begin treating (him) as a witness to a tragic event rather than as a criminal.”
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the driver not to face criminal charges and have described him as a hero.
Members of Ms Chkaifi’s family have also reportedly praised him for driving his car at McCaskre in an attempt to save her.
Scotland Yard said in a statement: “We are investigating the deaths of two people in this incident. Two families are bereaved and looking for answers. It is therefore essential that the investigation proceeds in an objective and professional manner.
“As with all investigations into violent deaths, we will gather all the available evidence and this can take time.
“Only when we are satisfied that we have all the facts can we fully understand the circumstances that led to the deaths and consider the most appropriate course of action.”