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‘I have to wear a disguise’ - Havering stab victim fears for his family after attacker is released from prison

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 17 August 2020

A stabbing victim says his family is in hiding after his attacker came out of prison and moved back into the neighbourhood. Stock images from Morguefile and PA.

A stabbing victim says his family is in hiding after his attacker came out of prison and moved back into the neighbourhood. Stock images from Morguefile and PA.

Archant

A father fears his family could be attacked after a violent criminal who was jailed for stabbing him was released from prison - and moved back into his neighbourhood.

Police arrested a man walking around Gants Hill with a chainsaw at 3:30 in the morning. Picture: Metropolitan Police.Police arrested a man walking around Gants Hill with a chainsaw at 3:30 in the morning. Picture: Metropolitan Police.

He has asked the authorities for help to get his family out of the area, but they have not taken any action.

The Victims Commissioner’s office has now taken up his case, thanks to the Romford Recorder’s intervention.

The man, whose identity is not being published for safety reasons, said he was not contacted by the authorities before his attacker was released.

Last month, he came face to face with the stabber at a park in Harold Hill with his children.

Havering Council said it would need evidence from police before it would relocate the mother - but police said they could not help because the mother was not present for the threat. Picture: Havering CouncilHavering Council said it would need evidence from police before it would relocate the mother - but police said they could not help because the mother was not present for the threat. Picture: Havering Council

“He pulled up to the side of the road in a Land Rover and did a throat-slicing move,” the man said.

He immediately reported the threat to police, who later arrested the man – but the case has since been marked for no further action, due to a lack of evidence.

However, the victim said police never took statements from his children.

In the weeks after the incident, somebody attempted to smash their way into the council home where the children live with their mother. The father lives in a separate property run by a housing association.

No link has been proved or disproved between the threat in the park and the attempted break-in, as police never attended to collect evidence or investigate, he said.

But the family has been left living in fear.

“We keep ourselves indoors now,” said the father. “If I do go out, I wear a disguise. We can’t even let our kids go to the park. He’s seen my kids now. He knows what they look like.”

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The whole family wants to be relocated, but while the father’s housing association agreed immediately to move him, police have refused to support a request to move the mother and children – because the mother was not present when the father and the children were threatened.

Havering Council told the mother that it would need to see a letter from police confirming that she was at risk.

But in an email seen by the Recorder, a police officer told the father: “I am unable to give any information to the council in respect of [the mother]. There are no reports made on the police database on her behalf that I can assist the council with.”

The father said he suffered multiple stab injuries in an unprovoked attack in 2015, including an 8-inch knife wound to the leg. The stabber was later prosecuted for the attack and handed a 40-month prison sentence.

The victim was left suffering from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said: “The way this is all being treated – I’m angry. They’re saying there’s no evidence she is at risk – but this guy is a nutter. And now he’s seen my kids. He knows what the kids look like.

“At the moment, I can be relocated – but if I am, my kids have got to stay here, where these incidents have happened.

“Maybe nothing will happen. I hope it doesn’t. But surely they’ve got to look at the worst-case scenario? It almost feels like they’re waiting for something to happen before they do anything.

“If one of us gets seriously hurt, everyone who didn’t act on it and is at fault will get their comeuppance – but by then, for us, it’s too late.”

Russell A’Court, chief executive of the Victims Commissioner’s office, has now taken up the case.

He said: “It isn’t right and the authorities have got to get a grip on it. Clearly, somebody needs to be advocating on his behalf. This kind of thing shouldn’t be happening. An offender should not be intimidating victims in the way described.”

The Met said it had offered to provide any useful information to the council or to the victim.

Havering Council said: “The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority and we will always do everything we can to help them.”


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