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This article titled “Police investigate possible links between London stabbings” was written by Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent and Ammar Kalia, for The Guardian on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 17.10 UTC
Five people, all stabbed from behind in four days in a small area of north London, may have been attacked by the same person, police have said.
After four stabbings on Saturday and Sunday, detectives believed they had a suspect in custody, but then a similar, fifth attack, on Tuesday morning that left the victim fighting for his life shook their hopes.
Within hours of the fifth stabbing, which was close to the first attack on Saturday evening, police made a fresh arrest of a man in his 30s who was detained in a busy shopping street by police.
The latest attack happened shortly after 5am on Tuesday in Enfield, north London, close to the scene of the first attack on Saturday.
It followed four attacks on people in the area between 7pm on Saturday and 9.45am on Sunday, leading to a large search and two arrests.
Ch Supt Helen Millichap said: “The actions of the suspect, the fact that the incidents are in a similar area, and the descriptions given, mean that we are potentially only looking for one individual perpetrator.
“However, until this investigation has developed further, and we are in a position to speak with certainty about this, I have a duty to ask the public to remain vigilant and to please continue to report to us anything suspicious.
“The victims appear to have been approached from behind, they were not engaged in conversation. They are currently very unprovoked attacks.”
The Metropolitan police said the male victim of the latest incident had life-threatening injuries. They said he was walking with a companion in Fairfield Road, Enfield, who escaped unharmed, whereas in the previous attacks the victims were apparently targeted at random while walking on their own.
Officers found the victim in Aberdeen Road, which is where the first attack on Saturday happened.
Officers were tracking down local CCTV systems and studying the footage to compare the suspect in the latest stabbing with the one in the first four attacks.
Hours after the latest attack, police arrested a man. Witnesses said that there was no struggle.
One witness said: “A police car pulled up and four or five police officers sprinted over and arrested a man outside the window. They arrested and searched him.
“Two more police cars turned up as they went through his wallet – they looked like they were checking it was the right guy. The man didn’t say anything for the whole time. It lasted around 15 to 20 minutes.”
The first victim, a woman, 45, was stabbed in the back by a lone man on Aberdeen Road just after 7pm.
After the attacks on Saturday and Sunday police arrested two men. The first person arrested has been released under investigation. The second man arrested remains in custody after police gained an extension to the time they could hold him in custody.
Police had previously said the four attacks over the weekend were linked and believed they were the work of a sole male suspect, who may have mental health problems.
Police are trying to reassure locals but some are limiting going out and at least two schools have stopped pupils leaving at break times.
Mike Kalongi, 28, who lives near the scene of the stabbing, said:
“It’s a bit scary. I usually go to the gym at night, but over the last few days I decided not to. I’m going shopping. I usually have my headphones on but I want to stay aware and try not to be a victim. It’s scary. It’s really scary.”
Kelvin Ojo, 36, said: “It’s scary now, this is not normal. Now I’m starting thinking about moving from this area, I’m not liking it.
“It could happen to anyone – my friends, my family, it could happen to me.”
Det Supt Luke Marks said: “I am aware that events from the weekend have caused a huge amount of worry and concern among the community, and that this incident will cause further alarm.”
“While at this stage the incident has not yet been formally linked, the location and manner of this attack will be of concern to the public.
“Our advice continues that that public to remain vigilant, and to contact police regarding anyone acting suspiciously. You will see additional uniformed patrols in the Edmonton area; if you have any concerns, please speak with my officers immediately.”
Ammar Kalia contributed to this report.
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