London Russell Square Stabbing Attack: What We Know So Far

By Gerald Lynch on at

A knife attack late on Wednesday night in central London has left one woman dead and five people injured.

Officers were called to the scene near the British Museum by Russell Square at 10.30pm, outside the Imperial Hotel. A 19-year old man was arrested at the scene after police used an electric stun gun to incapacitate him. His identity is as yet unknown.

The murdered woman was said to be in her 60s, though police are sharing no further details on her identity to offer some privacy to her grieving family. Those injured by the attacker include two women and three men, suffering "various injuries". A significant armed response met the scene, which is a tourist hotspot.

At present, the police are considering the possibility of a terrorist link to the attack, though have yet to share information as to why such an avenue is being pursued. London has been on high alert for some time, with the "severe" terror threat level leading spokespeople for the Metropolitan police to urge vigilance from the public with an attack thought to be imminent. Mental health issues are also said to likely factor in to the action taken by the attacker last night.

 

“Early indications suggest mental health is a significant factor in this case and that is one major line of inquiry," said Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan police service's assistant commissioner, and chief counter terrorism officer, outside Scotland Yard headquarters.

"But of course at this stage we should keep an open mind regarding motive and consequently terrorism as a motivation remains but one line of inquiry for us to explore.”

The attack comes just a day after the Metropolitan police service announced it was adding 600 armed officers to its forces in the wake of a heightened terror alert across Europe.

In response to last night's events, extra police patrols will join the ranks of London's usual police presence, including armed officers.