An American woman in her 60s has been killed after being repeatedly stabbed in the back by a knifeman in a central London rampage as police rowed back on terrorism as a potential motive and said the attack was probably triggered by mental health issues.
The US citizen was knifed by the “large man” – who was reportedly wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt – as he silently and indiscriminately attacked pedestrians in Russell Square on Wednesday night.
She was helped by a family of Spanish tourists as she lay slumped against railings after being targeted by the knifeman, who witnesses said did not say a word as he also stabbed a man in his 40s in the chest and a woman in her 20s in the arm.
A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, having received treatment in hospital under armed guard after a Taser was discharged as he was detained by police shortly after 10.30pm.
The suspect is a Norwegian national of Somalian origin, but no evidence has been found of radicalisation, Scotland Yard’s head of counter-terrorism Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said.
This is the usual reaction from authorities after a spontaneous jihad attack. The French government has pioneered this form of obfuscation.