Man killed with axe in street attack

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The Independent Online

A man was killed in the street yesterday by an attacker who repeatedly hit him on the head with an axe.

A man was killed in the street yesterday by an attacker who repeatedly hit him on the head with an axe.

Witnesses described the victim, aged 61, crying for help and trying to deflect the blows during the attack, a short distance from his home in the Swiss Cottage area of north-west London at about 9.30am.

The attacker used a 2-ft hatchet. Police said they did not believe it was a random attack, and it was not thought that the attacker had a history of mental illness. A witness said the two men appeared to know each other. It is claimed that the killer was heard to shout "you've had this coming for 20 years".

A scaffolder working near by said: "A man with an axe ran at his victim and just laid into him. He brought it down on his head and floored him.

"The victim had tried to defend himself with his arms and I heard him shout something. But it was hopeless."

Margaret Mikkelsen, 29, described how people confronted the axeman. She said: "I heard shouts and I saw a couple who had stopped their cars and were shouting at the man who was just standing there with an axe. He was just standing there, I could see the victim was dead and he was lying face down.

"A man who lives in my building was telling him to put the axe down then two men grabbed scaffolding poles to try to stop him hurting anyone else. But he didn't respond to all the people shouting at him."

Nick Blackford, 20, a student who was woken by screaming, said: "The police came out and arrested him at gunpoint. He had blood on his hands. He dropped the axe on the floor. There was a dustbin lid on the floor. I think either he was using it or more likely the victim was using it to protect himself."

Mr Blackford said the attacker "looked really calm and precise. He didn't seem that bothered about being arrested."

Police said the victim suffered "severe head injuries" but sources said he was not beheaded. A man, aged 37, from Camden, was arrested.