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Mum stabbed in Holloway street ‘feels sorry’ for attacker

Woman, 36, was knifed in daylight as she walked with her toddler son

14 June, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Christel Stainfield-Bruce was attacked as she walked down a Holloway street with her three-year-old son last Friday

A MOTHER who was stabbed in front of her sleeping toddler says her attacker is not a “bad” person but a product of society.

Christel Stainfield-Bruce was knifed in her leg last Friday by a suspect as she walked in a Holloway street with her three-year-old son in a buggy next to her.

The 36-year-old was rushed to hospital and later told she was “very, very lucky” that the blade had not hit any major arteries or tendons.

Instead of demonising the attacker, the mother-of-three said she feels “sorry for him” and that he has just made a “really bad choice”.

Ms Stainfield-Bruce said: “What kind of world are they growing up in? Why would this be a good choice?

“We are all a product of our society, I don’t feel like anybody is born bad.”

She added: “We are a product of the way we have been moulded and the experiences we have had and the opportunities we have had. This person is no different. He’s made a really bad choice.”

Ms Stainfield-Bruce, who was born and brought up in Islington, was approached in Caedmon Road at around 5pm by a suspect who asked her for directions to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. The nursery teacher pointed with her phone in her hand and was then told to give him the handset.

When she refused, the suspect “leaned forward” and stabbed her in the back of the left leg before running away.

She said: “It was really shocking. It’s scary. It’s disbelief. At what point do you think when you’re walking down the street that you’re at risk of being stabbed in broad daylight?

“There was no history with this person. I was just a random target. It almost felt like target practice.”

After she was stabbed Mrs Stainfield-Bruce, who is trained in first aid, wrapped her jumper around the wound and sat down on the curb and called the emergency services. She was then rushed to hospital.

Ms Stainfield-Bruce and her husband Quinn met with Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn ­yesterday (Thursday) afternoon where the ­possibility of installing more CCTV cameras in the area was discussed.

Mr Stainfield-Bruce added: “As a society, as a borough, as a city, as a country, this is at crisis point.”

• A 26-year-old man was arrested yesterday in connection with the attack.

 ‘Golden hour’: how police respond to stabbings and begin hunt for clues

Detective Superintendent Dave Croucha

AFTER a stabbing there is a “golden hour” when police have the best chance to get crucial evidence which could lead to an arrest, Islington’s chief investigator said.

Detective Superintendent Dave Croucha, who oversees around 600 investigations at any given time in Islington and Camden, said that the police’s first port of call is to make sure the victim is “secured” after a 999 call is received.

Once paramedics are in control it is a race against the clock to secure the area, ensure the crime scene is not changed by anyone stumbling into it, and get hold of any witnesses.

DS Croucha said: “In the golden hour after a crime is reported we have to maximise the recovery of evidence. If the suspect was injured then there will be blood on the floor or they might have knocked over a bin or something as they ran away. As soon as other people come into the crime scene it is not the same.”

Witnesses and local intelligence are the next priority.

“Often you find if it is a very local issue – these things get into the community very quickly, then it is about speaking to the community, which is not always easy,” said DS Croucha.

The police will also try to find CCTV or film on phones and social media to get an image of the attackers.

All of this is fed into an internal criminal intelligence board where Crimestoppers tip-offs and 101 calls will also be logged.

If a name or a suspect’s profile is drawn together over the following days then the police will make an arrest.

The stabbings DC Croucha has to deal with are more often a gang on gang “turf war” or a historic dispute between a group of people, he said.

In these cases, the police have an advantage if they have been monitoring the group and they believe they have an idea of who has been involved.

But if the victims are not willing to make a statement, which tends to happen in crimes related to gang activity, it can stifle the investigation.

DS Croucha is leading the probe into the stabbing of mother-of-three Christel Stainfield-Bruce in Caedmon Road last Friday.

He said: “We can’t have people going around stabbing each other. In some ways it is much easier with a victim like our lady last week. She complies and gives statements, that side is very good. We understand exactly what happened.”


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