Police hunt man who kicked NHS worker unconscious on London bus in row over face mask use

18 September 2020, 06:19 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 07:07

By Asher McShane

Police are hunting a violent attacker who kicked an NHS worker unconscious 'for moving away from him' on a London bus in a row over the wearing of face masks.

The victim, 63, who works for NHS track and trace, was punched repeatedly to the floor then had his head stamped on five times during the unprovoked attack on Sunday, 23 August, police said.

The victim was travelling on a 149 bus near Seven Sisters station in north London when the suspect boarded the bus at the next stop, at approximately 9.45pm.

The suspect, whose mask was hanging down below his chin, followed the victim towards the back of the bus around five minutes later before launching a vicious attack on him "because he moved away from him."

The victim had moved there to try and put distance between the pair, police said.

The attacker then launched into a violent physical attack, the victim remembered waking up in hospital in the attack which police said was "triggered by face masks".

Police said they issued the appeal today after all local enquiries to identify the suspect were exhausted and a CCTV appeal was deemed appropriate.

PC Bowman, from the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Although there is no sound on the CCTV and all the victim remembers is waking up in hospital, we believe that this was all triggered by face masks.

"We think that the attacker, who had his face covering beneath his chin, took offence when the victim, who was fully covered, consciously moved away from him.

Police want to trace this man after the attack on a 149 bus in London
Police want to trace this man after the attack on a 149 bus in London. Picture: Metropolitan Police

“When the attacker then follows the victim to the back of the bus, he can be seen pointing and gesturing at the victim’s face mask before he starts repeatedly punching and kicking him.

"This was a totally unwarranted violent assault and we urgently need to speak to this man.

"If anyone knows who he is or has any other information – or witnessed this offence – please call.

”The suspect is described as a black man aged approximately 23-25 years, tall and with an athletic/muscular build.

"He was wearing blue tracksuit bottoms, a white vest and white trainers."

Anyone with information should call detectives on 07880 429 486 or 101 quoting ref CAD 7981/23Au or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.