Maida Vale: Mum-of-two stabbing victim told friend ex-husband 'will kill me'

26 January 2022, 17:56

The victim of Monday's stabbing in Maida Vale feared her ex-husband
The victim of Monday's stabbing in Maida Vale feared her ex-husband. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The mother-of-two stabbed to death on the roadside by her abusive ex-husband in Maida Vale on Monday told a friend two years ago "I think he will kill me".

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Yasmin Chkaifi told her friend in 2020 that her former partner, Leon McCaskre, had put cameras in her flat and had stolen her mail and phone in order to get her personal information.

"He's had cameras in my house recording me for months," she said in a message to Adele-Sara Richards in April 2020.

"He's stolen my mail, my phone, has access to all my personal data.

"I think he will kill me. I've tried everything."

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One of her sons told MailOnline that she had been continually harassed by her ex-husband, who had made her life "hell".

"My mother was continually being harassed and intimidated by this man," he said.

"I was always in touch with the police but they did nothing to help her.

"There was even a panic alarm installed in our flat - that's how scared she was of this man.

"He was a monster."

Police presence at incident in Maida Vale

The 43-year-old - known to Ms Richards as Yaz - was stabbed to death in front of horrified onlookers in Chippenham Road, Maida Hill, west London, on Monday, with a driver mowing down McCaskre in an effort to stop the attack.

Tributes have been paid to Ms Chkaifi, who was a qualified childminder, had worked in a school and was studying for a master's degree.

Ms Richards, who described how she supported her after her mother died, said: "She was a good soul. It's very rare in life you come across a good soul. She always had a happy disposition.

"She was just a lovely person."

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Another friend, American PhD student Olivia Jones, 30, who lives in Brent, said: "I didn't know Yasmin well, but she made me feel as though I did. A year ago, Yasmin opened her doors to my partner and I at the time and hosted us for a meal.

"She was incredibly kind, hospitable and an amazing cook and dancer. She had a bubbly personality and a confidence about her that was so attractive.

"She was proud of her Moroccan heritage and a spiritual woman. We spoke about Islam, identity and social justice. She was a good person."

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Family members paid tribute to Ms Chkaifi, who was also known as Wafat, in a statement on Facebook.

They said: "She was full of life, always stayed positive and always saw the best in everyone.

"Wafat loved to laugh, dance and leave a special impact on everyone's life that got to share it with her. She has indeed left many broken from this awful and tragic news.

"Wafat was the most pure and genuine soul you would meet. She has left two amazing boys who will continue her legacy of being pure souls."

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog is now deciding if it will open an investigation into the contact between Ms Chkaifi and officers before she died.

A spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that we have received a referral from the Metropolitan Police regarding their contact with Yasmin Chkaifi prior to her tragic death in Maida Vale, London on January 24.

"We are currently assessing the available information, and have requested more, to determine what further action may be required from us."

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Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the driver not to face criminal charges and describing him as a hero.

Members of Ms Chkaifi's family have also reportedly praised him for driving his blue Renault at McCaskre in an attempt to save her.

The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder and has been released on bail until late February while the police investigation continues.