A man brandishing a knife stabbed a fellow train passenger and then ran through Forest Hill station today shouting, “I want to kill a Muslim,” according to eyewitnesses.
The knifeman yelled, “Whoever is Muslim, I will kill you,” reportedly threatening a women wearing a hijab before stabbing the man on the London Overground train.
The 40-year-old male victim suffered from stab wounds in the attack at lunchtime today. He was taken to hospital and is in a serious condition. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
A 38-year-old-man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of GBH, British Transport Police confirmed. They are appealing for witnesses to come forward with more information about the incident.
A witness to the scene told the Daily Mirror, “The man came running out of the station with a knife and everybody started running and screaming.
“He was shouting, ‘Whoever is Muslim, I will kill you’. He was looking for anybody that was Muslim.
“Everybody was running and screaming. He was walking up and down the street for about 15 minutes.
“The looks on some peoples faces, they looked terrified and very scared.”
Channel 4 reported accounts of a woman in a hijab pleading for help with blood on her hands as the attacker appeared to have run.
Witnesses also took to Twitter to explain what had happened and warn others away from the scene of the attack.
Those in the Forest Hill area stay alert. I’ve just seen a man brandishing a knife claiming he will “kill all Muslims”. Police alerted
— Richard Etienne (@retienne) December 12, 2016
Police still trying to grab guy who just stabbed man a few meters was from me at train station. He is outside now. Stay away. #ForestHill
— MigueldOliveira (@MigueldOliveira) December 12, 2016
Someone just got stabbed on the train at Forest Hill. The perpetrator is currently ranting on the streets. Beware. #foresthill
— rustlem (@rustlem) December 12, 2016
#foresthill The attacker shouted ” Who is Muslim, I want to kill a Muslim approached the guy sitting with his wife on the 1st carriage
— Met-Kastrati (@KastratiMet) December 12, 2016
Another woman in hijab who was possibly with victim was seen pleading for help with blood staining her hands as attacker seemed to have run
— Fatima Manji (@fatimamanji) December 12, 2016
— Charles W. McGinnes (@CWMcGinnes) December 12, 2016
Miguel Oliveira saw a “wave of people” coming towards him as he arrived at Forest Hill station. “The first few were shouting ‘he’s got a knife, he’s got a knife’ and then all of a sudden the next ones said ‘Oh he’s been stabbed call the police’,” he said.
British Transport Police said they were treating the incident as a serious hate crime, but not as a terrorist offence.
We are treating today’s incident in Forest Hill as a serious hate crime offence but no suggestion of wider terrorist aspect
— BTP (@BTP) December 12, 2016
Some on social media saw a disparity between the fact that this incident was not being treated as terrorism, and their belief that a Muslim man wanting to kill non-Muslims would immediately be linked to terrorist groups.
If I ran through a station brandishing a knife screaming I WANT TO KILL CHRISTIANS, I’d go down for terrorism without a trial. #ForestHill
— Lina – سيرين (@Lina_Serene) December 12, 2016
Knifeman because he is not muslim , Terrorist® is registered for muslims #foresthill
— Mohsin Tanveer (@MohsinTanveer10) December 12, 2016
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Langley, has appealed to witnesses to give more information about the incident.
He said: “This was a serious assault on a man in broad daylight and we are aware that other passengers may have seen what happened or been threatened themselves.
“We have spoken with many witnesses from the train but if you saw what happened and haven’t yet contacted police, please do so as soon as you can.”
Transport for London reported severe delays on London Overground services between New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace, and New Cross Gate and West Croydon, as a result of the incident.
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Additional reporting by Georgina Laud.