'Really horrific': Neighbour describes aftermath of London crossbow attack as suspect still at large

By John Mercury March 17, 2024

A woman who was the first on the scene at one of two suspected crossbow attacks police believe are linked has told Sky News of the “horrific” aftermath.

Subera Rabby called an ambulance for her neighbour, a 44-year-old woman who was hit in the head with a crossbow bolt as she crossed the road by Clifton House in Shoreditch, east London, at about 7.44pm on Monday 4 March.

Ten days later, a 20-year-old man was injured in the neck by a crossbow bolt near Arnold Circus, about 60m from the scene of the first attack, on Thursday 14 March at about 7.27pm.

A manhunt is under way for the suspect.

Ms Rabby first thought the screaming from outside was teenagers – until she realised her neighbour had been hurt and she and her family were crying out for an ambulance.

“The first thing was hearing the screaming, I came out, blood stain on the floor, there was a crossbow [bolt] sticking out of her head,” she said.

Detective chief superintendent James Conway briefing officers in Shoreditch. Pic: Met Police
Image:
Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway briefing officers. Pic: Met Police

As Ms Rabby called emergency services she saw her neighbour run to the entrance of the building, apparently thinking there was someone in the police car parked there.

When she realised it was empty, she “lay flat” and her husband tended to her, Ms Rabby told Sky News.

“It was really really horrific, I’ve never seen anything like that,” she said.

With the suspect still at large, Ms Rabby said the neighbourhood was “scared” and on high alert.

“It’s so scary, I’m frightened for my kids, for myself,” she said.

“The fact the second incident has now happened, I’m now thinking it could have been any of us.”

Both victims have left hospital and are not thought to have life-changing injuries, police said, while no similar incidents have been reported.

Police are carrying out “urgent work” to identify a suspect, and extra officers will be deployed to the area over the weekend to “provide reassurance”.

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway said his team was trying to identify witnesses, studying CCTV footage and keeping the community updated.

Residents’ association member Susanna Kow told Sky News parents were worried about taking their children to the nearby school, with some people planning to take a detour from Monday.

She said the residents group was trying to calm people down and encourage them not to speculate.

“We want normalcy to return otherwise this will be a no-go area which it shouldn’t be, it’s a lovely area,” she said.

“The only way to get normalcy is for the police to really update us and find the suspect.”

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Police urged anyone with information to come forward, either by speaking to an officer or calling 101.

“You may have seen something on the days when these offences occurred, or you might have seen or heard something in the local area that you think is suspicious and may be linked to these incidents,” Mr Conway said.

“I understand that local people will be distressed by these incidents but we would urge them to go about their business.

“Please do be vigilant and alert while our investigation is ongoing and contact us about anything which seems concerning.”

Police are working with Tower Hamlets Council to “use as many resources as possible”.

Anyone with information that could help police should call 101 quoting CAD 6663/14 Mar or Operation Goldwater.

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