- By Quddsiyya Ismael
Knifeman leaves blood soaked bodies lying in the busy tourist streets of London
A US woman, named by police as 64 year old Darlene Horton, has died and five other people have been hospitalised, injured in a shocking knife attack in a busy central London tourist destination.
Florida State University (FSU) has confirmed Ms Horton was the wife of psychology professor Richard Wagner.
Two other women and three men received various injuries in the attack, which happened near the Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, central London.
A British man is said to be very seriously injured in hospital in a serious but stable condition while the others, including an Israeli, and Australian and another American, are likely to be discharged over the next two days.
After receiving treatment in hospital following a beating by the police, the arrested man, shot with a high powered taser, who was detained in Bedford Place, is now in police custody in an unknown south London facility, the location of which will not be released to the public.
Norwegian police said in a statement the man had emigrated from Norway to London in 2002 and they were assisting Met police.
The Met said they had searched an address in north London and another will be searched in south London.
The US ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, said of the woman who died:
“Heartbreaking news that a US citizen was killed in Russell Square attack. My prayers are with all the victims and their loved ones.”
Horton and her partner had planned to return home to Tallahassee on Thursday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry described the attacks as a “horrific mass stabbing” and said he grieved for the victims.
Kerry paid tribute to London’s emergency services saying: “I particularly want to thank the first responders for their extremely effective and courageous efforts from to prevent this from having been worse.”
Emergency services, in the form of huge numbers of heavily armed police took 6 minutes to arrive on the scene.
One of the victims of the Russell Square attacks was 18-year-old Israeli tourist Yovel Lewkowski described what happened:
“I saw that she [Darlene Horton] was bleeding and I looked at my arm and realised he had stabbed me also. I was in shock. She was still breathing when I saw her but after a few minutes it was too late and it was so awful to watch.”
Police believe the attack on was “spontaneous”, with victims “selected at random”.
Met Police assistant commissioner for specialist operations Mark Rowley said the investigation was firmly pointing to the attack being “triggered by mental health issues”.
Following the attack, social media saw an out brake of racist Islamophobic abuse claiming that the incident was a terrorist attack and some how connected to the peaceful Muslim faith.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the force’s “swift response undoubtedly helped prevent more people from getting injured”.
Hogan-Howe and London mayor Sadiq Khan have used the incident to announce not only that there will be a dramatic and permanent increase in armed forces on the streets of the capital but also the deployment of a new super-heavily armed London police force.
The announcement of the new police forces have triggered mixed responses amongst Londoners. Whilst some see their presence as reassuring the vast majority of those that The International spoke to about the matter indicated that London was increasingly feeling like the dystopian world depicted in Orwell’s infamous novel 1984.
One local resident, a single mother from Kentish Town, North London told The International:
“CCTV every few paces, everything is illegal, guilty until proven innocent, violent, military style police, automated facial recognition, iris scans, police horses and dogs patrolling the streets. Orwell? his book was a paradise of freedom compared to London 2016. It’s the police I am scared of not terrorists. I fear for my son, he’s 17 and sees the police as the only gang to fear.”
Russell Square is no stranger to tragedy the area being the scene of the tragic 2005, 7th July underground bombings which claimed many lives.