UK

Maida Vale double death: Hero driver accused of murder speaks for first time

The have-a-go hero driver who drove into a knifeman who was stabbing to death a mother-of-two today claimed his ‘instant thought was to protect the woman who was being stabbed’ as he spoke out for the first time.

Yasmin Wafah Chkaifi, 43, died after the horrific attack by Leon Mccaskie, 41, despite the efforts of the motorist – named for the first time today as ‘Abraham’ – who intervened by ploughing into him in Maida Vale, West London.

Friends of the driver have described how he has been ‘living a nightmare’ since the incident. He was arrested on suspicion of murder after he drove his Renault Clio into the attacker in a desperate attempt to stop the carnage.

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for him not to face criminal charges – and relatives and friends of Miss Chkaifi have called for the police probe to be dropped and for him to be honoured for his bravery.

Now, in a statement issued on Twitter overnight through his lawyer Mohammed Akunjee, Abraham has said: ‘I witnessed a man repeatedly stabbing a defenceless woman on the pavement a short distance in front of my car. 

Mohammed Akunjee, lawyer for the Maida Vale driver who is an electrician known only as ‘Abraham’, gives a statement today

Mohammed Akunjee's press statement

Mohammed Akunjee's press statement

This press statement was issued on Twitter overnight by the Maida Vale driver’s lawyer Mohammed Akunjee

Yasmin Wafah Chkaifi

Leon McCaskre

Yasmin Wafah Chkaifi (left), 43, died after the horrific attack by Leon Mccaskie (right), 41, in Maida Vale, West London 

Forensic officers stand near a blue Renault Clio as they carry out investigations in Maida Vale, West London, on Monday

Forensic officers stand near a blue Renault Clio as they carry out investigations in Maida Vale, West London, on Monday

Miss Chkaifi's relatives place flowers at the scene of the killing in Maida Vale, West London, on Tuesday

Miss Chkaifi’s relatives place flowers at the scene of the killing in Maida Vale, West London, on Tuesday

Police officers and emergency services cordon off the scene in Maida Vale, West London, on Monday

Police officers and emergency services cordon off the scene in Maida Vale, West London, on Monday

‘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 was being stabbed and the public who were also being threatened. The vehicles ahead of me moved off, which gave me the opportunity to intervene.

‘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.’ 

Full statement from Maida Vale driver 

‘Press release, 26 January 2022.

‘My name is Abraham. I’m a Muslim man.

‘My full name is known to my solicitors and to the Metropolitan Police. I’m aware of newspaper accounts concerning the murder of Yasmin Wafah Chkaifi on Monday, 24 January, 2022.

‘I can confirm that I am the person identified as the driver of the blue Renault Clio. I’ve asked my solicitor Mr Akunjee to convey the following public statement on my behalf.

‘I’m a person of good character, I’ve never been arrested before in my life. This Monday past, I was making my way to work and was waiting in traffic on the Chippenham Road in West London at approximately 9am.

‘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 was being stabbed and the public who were also being threatened. The vehicles ahead of me moved off, which gave me the opportunity to intervene. 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. My vehicle struck the attacker and he was taken under my car, causing it to stall. I could not reverse my car to free him.

‘I and the other passers-by attempted to lift the car away from the attacker so we could provide the man with first aid. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful with this and I have since learned that both the young lady and her attacker have died.

‘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 . My only regret is that God did not allow me to be present at the scene sooner so that my intervention may have saved the life of the young woman concerned.

‘I understand that the police are doing their job and that my being arrested is not unusual. However, I do not see why I as the person who tried to assist in the defence of other human beings remain arrested and on bail under suspicion of murder.

‘I have asked my solicitor to contact the Metropolitan Police to request that they consider de-arresting me and begin treating me as a witness to a tragic event rather than as a criminal as they currently are.

‘I am a family man and wish to keep my family protected from these ill-fated events. I thus request that those in the media do not approach myself or my family for comment or interview. If you have any requests, I ask that you kindly contact my solicitor.’

He continued: ‘My vehicle struck the attacker and he was taken under my car, causing it to stall. I could not reverse my car to free him. I and the other passers-by attempted to lift the car away from the attacker so we could provide the man with first aid. 

‘Unfortunately we were unsuccessful with this and I have since learned that both the young lady and her attacker have died. 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 . My only regret is that God did not allow me to be present at the scene sooner so that my intervention may have saved the life of the young woman concerned.’

Abraham added that he had asked Mr Akunjee to request that the Metropolitan Police now de-arrest him and instead treat him ‘as a witness to a tragic event rather than as a criminal as they currently are’.

He said: ‘I understand that the police are doing their job and that my being arrested is not unusual. However, I do not see why I as the person who tried to assist in the defence of other human beings remain arrested and on bail under suspicion of murder.

‘I have asked my solicitor to contact the Metropolitan Police to request that they consider de-arresting me and begin treating me as a witness to a tragic event rather than as a criminal as they currently are.’ 

Friends of the driver, who was heard saying ‘what have I done?’, yesterday revealed that the electrician is still in shock.

One, who did not want to be named, said: ‘If he ever sees anyone in trouble he will always try to help. He couldn’t bear to see the woman being attacked.’

The Met Police said the driver had been ‘fully co-operative’ after he was arrested on suspicion of murder following the incident. He has been bailed until a date in late February while evidence is evaluated.

The Metropolitan Police is now facing an investigation itself into the attack after it emerged that the force was repeatedly warned about former company director Mr Mccaskie’s abusive behaviour.

A friend yesterday said how Miss Chkaifi grew concerned that her ex-husband would try to kill her in April 2020 after she learned that he was spying on her.

In messages to Adele-Sara Richards, Miss Chkaifi said: ‘He’s had cameras in my house recording me for months. He’s stolen my mail, my phone, has access to all my personal data. I think he will kill me.’

Miss Chkaifi, who had two sons aged 16 and 18, told friends that she had gone to police about the incident and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

The mature student secured a restraining order against Mr Mccaskie after the breakdown of their two-year marriage and even had a panic alarm fitted in her flat.

A warrant for his arrest was issued just three weeks ago after he failed to turn up for a court hearing relating to a breach of the stalking order.

One of Miss Chkaifi’s sons accused the Met of doing too little to protect his mother and said that officers had been contacted numerous times about Mr Mccaskie’s harassment.

Mr Mccaskie was convicted of obstructing a police officer and driving without insurance in 2017.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog is now deciding if it will open an investigation into Scotland Yard’s handling of the case after the force referred itself. 


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button