What we know about Hainault sword attack as 14-year-old boy killed (2024)

Watch: Hainault eyewitness video shows man in hoodie carrying 'large blade'

Pictures show the moment right before the suspect of a fatal stabbing attack in north east London is tasered by police.

Doorcam footage shows a man in a yellow hoodie wielding a sword in a driveway in Hainault on Tuesday morning as an officer approaches from behind while aiming their weapon.

A 14-year-old boy was taken to hospital after being stabbed and died a short time later, the Metropolitan Police said, while four others were injured, including two police officers.

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After being incapacitated by police, the sword-wielding man was arrested and is now in custody. A damaged grey van has been cordoned off on a residential road following the incident.

Holding a press conference in the shaken residential community, police urged people to avoid speculating online and to refrain from sharing graphic footage of the incident on social media.

What we know

Two Met Police officers suffered wounds that both require surgery, with their injuries described as “significant” but not life-threatening, and injuries sustained by two members of the public are also not deemed to be life-threatening. All four remain in hospital.

The Metropolitan Police said they were called shortly after 7am to reports of a vehicle being driven into a house in the Thurlow Gardens area. The suspect then went on to attack other members of the public and two police officers, the force said.

The man was tasered and arrested at the scene and is in police custody.

The Met said it is not looking for any more suspects and that the incident does not appear to be terror-related.

The London Ambulance Service said it was called at 6.54am to an incident near Hainault Underground Station. It said: "Working together with our emergency services partners, we treated five people and took all five to hospital. Our crews have now left the scene."

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In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Met Police assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe addressed speculation on the attackers' background including the police previously being in contact with him.

"We have found no trace of a prior incident involving him so far," she said. Rolfe said the 36-year-old man arrested this morning was injured after crashing his van into a building.

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

Rolfe said there will be a "significant police presence" in the area to help residents feel safe.

"We are really keen to speak to anyone who witnessed this incident or has relevant information and would ask that they come forward as soon as possible," she said.

"We are turning focus to the wider community and in particular how the incident has impacted young people."

Urging members of the public to "think very carefully" about what they post online, Rolfe said: "There are some images circulating online and people should consider the impact of those on the families and those most closely affected by this incident."

What we don't know

The 14-year-old boy who died has not yet been formally identified. The Met said the boy's family are being supported by local officers and specialist officers.

It is not known what sparked the incident, as the Met said it was not a "targeted" attack. The Met also refused to comment when asked whether the suspect was known to police and if he had previously been arrested.

There are no details yet about the man who has been arrested, other than his age. It is unclear how exactly the house which was driven into by a vehicle is related to the stabbings.

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Eyewitness account

A neighbour from nearby Laing Close, who witnessed the attacks, said he could “not stop envisioning the boy’s face”.

Describing the incident, James Fernando, 39, said there had been a brief conversation between the suspect and one of his neighbours.

Within moments, he said that the boy, who he said was on his way to school, had been hit in the face.

“It’s quite traumatising now. I can’t stop envisioning the boy’s face," he said.

A resident in Thurlow Gardens, who wished to remain anonymous, said the suspect was tasered in their garden.

They said the attacker jumped over the fence before being held down by officers, and that they have given household CCTV to the police.

The resident’s neighbour, who also didn't wish to be named, witnessed the arrest, and said: “He was being tasered, went to the floor with all the armed police officers around and he was subdued there for half an hour."

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One man, who asked not to be named, said he heard a woman scream after what appeared to be a stand-off between police and the suspect in an alleyway.

He 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.”

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The eyewitness said he heard someone say, "he’s got a massive knife", or "he’s got a massive sword".

He added: “Then he disappeared down this alley and then he was 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."

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Another eyewitness told Channel 4 News the suspect was carrying a "massive sword" while he was "on the phone to the fire brigade".

"He was telling the neighbour to tell [them] his location, where he is. His van was smoking - he was asking for the fire brigade presumably because of his van. He stepped on the resident's foot to stop her from moving.

"She noticed the sword behind his back and she managed to get off his footing and she moved away."

The bystander then described a teenager coming out of his house, putting his earphones in as the woman screamed to warn him of the suspect, who he says struck the boy as he was turning around.


Home secretary James Cleverly said: "To hear the 14-year-old victim of this morning’s appalling attack in Ilford has died is heartbreaking. I send my heartfelt condolences to the family.

"This will be an incredibly challenging time for the local community and my thoughts remain with all those affected."

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."

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said: "Our whole community will be devastated by the heartbreaking news that a 14-year-old boy was killed in the horrific sword attack in Hainault this morning.

"I can't imagine what that poor boy's family are going through and they have my deepest, heartfelt condolences."

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Prime minister Rishi Sunak said earlier: "This is a shocking incident. My thoughts are with those affected and their families.

"I'd like to thank the emergency services for their ongoing response, and pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery shown by police on the scene. Such violence has no place on our streets."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Following the horrific scenes in Hainault this morning, the King has asked to be kept fully informed as details of the incident become clearer.

“His thoughts and prayers are with all those affected – in particular, the family of the young victim who has lost his life – and he salutes the courage of the emergency services who helped contain the situation.”

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Metropolitan Police Federation chairman, Rick Prior, said: “The thoughts of all police officers in London are with the family of the 14-year-old boy who was killed today, and all those injured.

“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.

“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.

“We shall be supporting our injured colleagues, the officers they work with and their families as best we can at this very difficult time.”

Redbridge Council said it was "shocked" by the attack in its area, saying in a statement: "Hainault is a close-knit community and we know this will have shaken local people. Our thoughts are with all those affected and their family members."

What we know about Hainault sword attack as 14-year-old boy killed (2024)
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