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'Hero' driver who crashed into Maida Vale knifeman 'would do it all again', says lawyer

1 February 2022, 23:10 | Updated: 1 February 2022, 23:16

By Sophie Barnett

The driver who crashed into a knifeman as he stabbed a mother-of-two to death in Maida Vale would "do it all again" to save a life, his lawyer has told LBC.

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The 26-year-old, who has only been identified with the name "Abraham" to protect his identity, has been hailed a "hero" by many for intervening during the horrific attack.

Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, was stabbed to death by her ex-partner Leon McCaskre in front of horrified bystanders in Chippenham Road, West London, on January 24.

Abraham, who was arrested by police on suspicion of murder, has since been released with no further action after officers reviewed self defence laws, CCTV and statements from bystanders.

Tasnime Akunjee, criminal defence solicitor at Waterfords who is representing Abraham, said the 26-year-old "put an end" to the violence and would "do it all again" in an exclusive interview with Tom Swarbrick on LBC.

Mr Akunjee told Tom: "He doesn't regret what he's done, he says his only regret is that he wasn't there sooner to intervene to save the woman's life.

Read more: 'Hero' driver who crashed into Maida Vale knifeman as he attacked woman released by police

Read more: Hero driver accused of murder reveals how he tried to save Maida Vale stabbing victim

"He said he would do it again if it were presented again that this was something he had to do to save somebody. But also that he's been extremely concerned over this case – this potential case looming over his head and he's very relieved now."

Tom asked Mr Akunjee whether Abraham will be involved further in the police case.

He replied: "He is happy to remain as a witness to events...cooperate fully with matters in the future."

"You feel he's a hero?" Tom asked.

Mr Akunjee said: "He doesn't say that about himself...I've tried to explain to him that actually he's quite a uniquely decent person.

"He only hopes his actions will encourage others to step in when they see others in danger."

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

More than 75,000 people signed an online petition calling for the driver to avoid a charge of murder.

In a statement on Tuesday, Detective Chief Inspector Neil Rawlinson of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command 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."

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."

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.

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