Joggers warned after knife attack

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The Independent Online

Police warned women not to venture alone into parks in north-east London after a second knife attack on a female jogger.

A 39-year-old woman was repeatedly stabbed by a young man in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, on Friday night, less than three miles from Victoria Park in Hackney where the American artist Margaret Muller, 27, was murdered in February. Police believe the same man, described as white, wearing a hooded top and in his early twenties or late teens, was responsible for both attacks and warned he could strike again.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jon Shatford said the victim of Friday's stabbing, a professional woman who lived near Clissold Park, was in a stable condition after surgery to a severed artery. She was stabbed "several times", although police refused to describe the exact nature of her injuries.

"[The] lady was jogging in the park by the lakes when she was made to feel uneasy by a young man of whom we have a very, very vague description," Det Ch Supt Shatford said. "At some stage, that individual ran up behind her and knifed her in the torso."

"The lady had a scuffle with this individual, ran away and managed to escape from his grasp. [She] then became conscious of getting wet around where she thought she had been thumped and felt immediately unwell and fell to the ground."

A woman doctor, who was in the park with children, came to her aid. The victim was "bleeding profusely" and police said the doctor's intervention probably saved her life.

Five people have been arrested in the hunt for the killer of Ms Muller, but all were released after questioning. "We are very, very concerned about the similarities of these two offences," said Det Ch Supt Shatford. "Both were out jogging, both were stabbed by an individual where there was no sexual motive and no robbery apparent."

He added that both victims were small in stature. "Margaret was under 5ft and this lady was 5ft 4in. She is of very slim build and has the same colour hair as Ms Muller, brown, which comes down to her collar. She was a fairly slight built woman and [the attacker] clearly felt he had power over her."

Det Ch Supt Shatford said: "While we don't wish to be alarmist in any way, I would ask women using parks in the area to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Let someone know where you are going, keep in the company of other people and report anything suspicious to the police."