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'Hero' driver who crashed into Maida Vale knifeman as he attacked woman released by police
1 February 2022, 15:45 | Updated: 1 February 2022, 23:17
The driver of a car who crashed into a knifeman as he stabbed a woman to death in Maida Vale has been released by police with no further action.
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The 26-year-old was allowed to go after officers reviewed self defence laws, CCTV and statements from bystanders, the Metropolitan Police said.
"He is considered a vital witness to our investigation and will be offered support from professionals to help him come to terms with the terrifying situation he was confronted with," Detective Chief Inspector Neil Rawlinson of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said.
Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, a mother-of-two, was stabbed to death by her ex-partner Leon McCaskre in front of horrified bystanders in Chippenham Road, West London, on January 24.
McCaskre was hit by the car after the 26-year-old intervened by driving at the knifeman. Both Ms Chkaifi and McCaskre were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police then arrested the driver on suspicion of murder, despite calls to let him go, with many describing him as a hero. More than 75,000 people signed an online petition calling for him to avoid a charge of murder.
The driver, who has only been identified with the name "Abraham", previously said through a lawyer that he only wanted to help Ms Chkaifi and members of the public.
DCI Rawlinson confirmed the driver had been let go on Tuesday afternoon. He said: "It is vitally important that when a person dies there is a thorough investigation into all of the circumstances and this has taken place.
"Such decisions must be thoroughly examined and while this process takes time this has been a priority for my team. The man's legal advisers have been informed of this decision.
"Inquests have opened in relation to both deaths and my team will continue to work to provide evidence for the Coroner. We continue to appeal for witnesses to this incident who have yet to speak to police to come forward and do so."
In a statement last week, "Abraham's" lawyer said: "I witnessed a man repeatedly stabbing a defenceless woman on the pavement a short distance in front of my car.
"Members of the public were attempting to intervene. The attacker was wielding a knife and was threatening those brave citizens too.
"My instant thought was to protect the woman who was being stabbed and the public who were also being threatened. The vehicles ahead of me moved off, which gave me the opportunity to intervene.
"I drove my vehicle towards the attacker in order to get him away from the woman he was attacking. I did not intend to harm the attacker. I only intended to protect those being attacked."
He said the attacker ended up under his car after he crashed into him, and he was unable to reverse off to free him.
Along with passers-by, he tried to lift the car off and give first-aid but they were unable to do so, he said, apologising for his death.
"It was never my intention to harm him, I just wanted to stop him from hurting anybody further," the statement went on.
"My only regret is that God did not allow me to be present at the scene sooner so that my intervention may have saved the life of the young woman concerned."
He added that he had understood the police were "doing their job" after he was arrested.
Reports said Ms Chkaifi spoke about her fears that McCaskre would kill her. She told a friend he had put cameras in her flat and stolen her phone and mail to get her personal details.
"He's had cameras in my house recording me for months," she told 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."
One of her sons, who was not named, told MailOnline McCaskre "continually... harassed and indimidated" Ms Chkaifi.
"There was even a panic alarm installed in our flat - that's how scared she was of this man. He was a monster," he said.
A police post-mortem examination found Ms Chkaifi died of multiple stab injuries while McCaskre died from multiple injuries.
Witnesses to what happened have still been asked to come forward, either by calling police on 101 or using @MetCC on Twitter and quoting reference CAD 1496/24JAN
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.