Teenager dies in London sword attack


A 14-year-old boy died on Tuesday when a man attacked the teenager, two police officers and two other persons with a sword. The street attack took place in east London, police said.

The man apparently used a samurai-like sword in the attack in the Hainault district just before 07:00 (0600 GMT).

The police said they arrested a 36-year-old man. They used shock sticks. The incident is not currently being linked to terrorist activity, they said.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell, of London’s Metropolitan Police, said all five victims were taken to hospital. The two police officers will have to undergo operations due to “extensive injuries”. However, these two officers and the two members of the public did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

“It is with great sadness to announce that one of the persons injured in the incident has succumbed to their injuries,” Bell told reporters at the scene. “He was taken to a hospital and died shortly afterwards.”

Bell described the incident as “absolutely horrific” and said specialist officers were supporting the boy’s family.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also described the incident as “shocking”. “This type of violence has no place on our streets,” he said in a post on X (Twitter). “Many thanks to the emergency services for their continued response. We also pay tribute to the exceptional bravery of police officers at the scene.”

Footage and photos on social media of the incident show the man in a yellow sweater with the weapon.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said she hid behind a window when the suspect stood outside her house shouting at the police: “Do you believe in God?”

“We were very scared and tried to hide. He was standing right next to our house. He would have seen us if he looked up. We didn’t know what to do.”

Other eyewitnesses said two police officers chased the man. They ordered him to put down the weapon.

The police in England, Scotland and Wales are not usually armed, but carry stun sticks to arrest suspects.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, says he is “absolutely shocked” about the incident and is in contact with the city’s police commissioner.

Sunak last week condemned the mayor’s statistics on knife attacks in the British capital. According to official figures, knife attacks in London will rise by 20% in 2023 with 14,577 incidents. This is one per cent below pre-pandemic levels in the year to March 2020.

In England and Wales there is a 7% increase in knife attacks with 49,489 incidents. Almost 29% of these incidents take place in metropolitan areas, according to the Office for National Statistics.