Machete hero had just become a British citizen

A hero who wrestled a man armed with a machete to the ground after he broke into a church hall and attacked a group of women's barbershop singers had become a British citizen only hours earlier.

Steven Izegbu, 28, took on a masked assailant after he had vandalised a vicar's car and attacked elderly members of a ladies' barbershop group at the hall of St Barnabas Church in St Paul's Cray, near Orpington, south-east London, on Tuesday night.

Two women – one in her 80s, another in her 60s – were injured in the attack along with three men – one aged 84 and two in their 60s. None was seriously hurt and no injuries were caused by a machete the attacker was wielding, police said yesterday.

Resident Richard Elliot told the News Shopper website: "I had never met Steven before and he said he had just got his British citizenship that day. I said, 'Welcome to the country, do not expect this every day'."

Ginny Warner was singing in the barbershop group, Velvet Harmony, when the man began attacking a car belonging to the vicar, the Rev Alyson Davie, outside. He turned his attention towards the church hall and broke in through a back door.

"He had a mask on with a Mohican hairdo attached to it. He was shouting and swearing," Ms Warner said. "I ran out but one of the ladies fell over, I don't know if she was pushed or just fell, but he snatched her walking stick from her and kicked her while she was laying on the ground. One of the other singers tried to help and also got hit." Mr Izegbu wrestled the attacker to the ground outside the building.

A 56-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage. He was being treated in hospital for a hand injury yesterday.

The Rev Davie said: "This was a distressing incident for everyone concerned. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all."