A suspected knifeman has been arrested over a series of unprovoked stabbings after a fifth victim was attacked just yards from a manned police cordon.
Video footage obtained by the Press Association shows the suspect, who is in his 30s, being detained outside a supermarket in Edmonton, north London, on Tuesday morning on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.
Hours earlier, a man, who is also in his 30s, was left in a critical condition after suffering life-threatening injuries when he was stabbed in Fairfield Road, Edmonton, at around 5am – yards from the scene of an earlier attack.
Scotland Yard said the victim staggered to a police cordon in Aberdeen Road, which was still manned by at least one officer, to get help.
Investigators believe the latest stabbing is linked to four others that took place over the weekend.
Speaking outside Edmonton police station on Tuesday afternoon, Enfield and Harringay Commander Helen Millichap said: “Because of the way the suspect acted, the geographical location of the areas and the description of the suspect, it’s likely they are linked.”
She added: “However, until these investigations have developed further and we are in a position to speak with certainty about this, I have a duty to ask the public to remain vigilant and to continue to report anything suspicious to us.”
Ms Millichap would not comment about the significance of Tuesday’s arrest outside Lidl in Edmonton Green at around 10am on Tuesday.
But witnesses said the man matched the police description of the suspect – a skinny black man who is approximately 6ft 3ins tall and wearing dark clothes.
Shop worker Fatma Oruc, 17, said he seemed “calm” as he was detained, adding: “There were police officers surrounding a man and he was black. He was wearing a hoodie.
“They stayed for five to 10 minutes and handcuffed him and he was taken away.”
Employees at furniture store Dogtas said the man arrested was tall, black and skinny, wearing a green hoodie with a grey sweatshirt underneath, “dirty” blue jeans, and blue trainers.
He did not appear to say anything or make any effort to get away from officers.
The latest stabbing follows attacks on four people in the Edmonton area over the weekend that left two critically hurt and one with potentially life-changing injuries.
Police said in all five cases the victims appear to have been approached from behind in unprovoked attacks.
Residents told of their fear after the latest stabbing, while the Times reported that local schools had banned children from leaving the grounds during their break time as a safety measure.
Ms Millichap sought to reassure locals, telling reporters: “My message to the public here in Edmonton is that the police are here, the police are out and about.
“We have made arrests in relation to this investigation, but as I mentioned before, until we can unequivocally say that these linked and we know that we have our suspect in custody, we want the public to stay alert, I do want people to report anything suspicious to us, but I also do want them to feel as safe as they can. “We are not advising people to stay indoors.”
One man who was previously arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm has been released on bail, while investigators have until Wednesday morning to interview a second man arrested on suspicion of the same offence.
A 45-year-old woman became the first victim when she was stabbed once in her back at about 7pm on Saturday in Aberdeen Road, and left in a critical condition.
Then at 12.15am, police were called to Park Avenue where a 52-year-old man had been injured with a knife. He has since been discharged from hospital.
The third attack was on a 23-year-old man just before 4am near Seven Sisters Tube station. He is in a critical but stable condition.
The fourth attack occurred at about 9.40am on Sunday in Brettenham Road where officers found a 29-year-old man with a stab injury to the back.