Mass stabbing in central London leaves woman dead and five injured


A woman has been killed and five people have been injured in a mass stabbing in the centre of London.

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, known as SO15, were investigating the incident in Russell Square on Wednesday night but police also said that mental health could be a significant factor.
Police said there would be an increased police presence from Thursday morning on the streets of London, “for reassurance and safety”.
A woman in her 60s was treated at the scene but was pronounced dead a short time later. Another woman and four men suffered “various injuries” in the attack.
A 19-year-old man was arrested minutes after police arrived on the scene in the area which is home to the University of London as well as many hotels and restaurants popular with tourists.
The suspect, who was Tasered during the arrest, was being held in custody in hospital, police said.
As detail emerged, the decision was made to have the counter-terrorism command involved in the investigation.
Mark Rowley, an assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and Britain’s most senior counter terrorism officer, made a statement at a press conference shortly after 3.30am on Thursday morning.
He said: “Early indications suggest mental health is a significant factor in this case and that is one major line of inquiry.
“But of course at this stage we should keep an open mind regarding motive and consequently terrorism as a motivation remains but one line of inquiry for us to explore.
“At present the Met’s homicide command are investigating the incident but at present are supported by our counterterrorism unit.
“As a precautionary measure tomorrow, Londoners will wake up and in the morning they will notice an increased police presence on the streets, including armed officers.”

Police cordoned off the area, where there are numerous tourist hotels, and were stopping people entering Bedford Place, just off Russell Square, where it is believed the suspect was arrested.
Two forensic team officers wearing protective suits were examining the scene.
A caller to BBC Radio London named Paul said he had been to the nearby Bloomsbury cinema with his girlfriend when he came across the scene.
“We came around the corner and there were armed police everywhere … a massive police presence … and a corpse lying in the street covered in a blanket.

“Apparently it was a gang stabbed a woman and she’s dead.
“We went into the bar across the street and the officers came to interview us … we didn’t actually see anything but some people in the bar saw something.”
Extra police have been deployed in the area to provide reassurance.
The full police statement said: “Police were called at 22:33 hours on Wednesday 3 August to reports of a man seen in possession of a knife injuring people at Russell Square, WC1.
“Officers attended the scene along with the London Ambulance Service. Up to six people were found injured at the location.
“A female (no further details) was treated at the scene but was pronounced dead a short time later. We await an update on the condition of the other persons injured and details of any other injuries.
“A man was arrested at 22:39 hours and a Taser was discharged by one of the arresting officers. Additional police units have been deployed to the area to provide reassurance.
“Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Terrorism is one possibility being explored at this stage.”