Man stabbed after answering fake Gumtree advert

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The Independent Online

A man almost died after being attacked on his way to buy a car offered for sale in a fake advert on the Gumtree listings website, police said today.

The 42-year-old was beaten and stabbed in North Street, Barking, east London, at 3.50pm on 30 July, after being lured to the area by the advert for a Volkswagen Golf.

Witnesses saw two men, described as black and believed to be in their 20s, punch, kick and finally stab the victim as they tried to wrestle a bag with around £5,000 in it from him.

He was treated at the scene by air ambulance before being transferred to the Royal London Hospital where he had life-saving surgery.

Detective Chief Inspector Ellie O'Connor, Barking CID, said: "This was a brutal attack on an innocent man who was responding to an online advertisement in good faith.

"We are appealing for anyone who witnessed this attack or who knows anything about it to come forward."

She warned people replying to internet classified adverts to follow certain rules to stay safe.

She said: "Do not go to the meeting point alone, do not carry large amounts of cash on your person, make sure that you meet in a busy area and never allow yourself to be lured away from a safe meeting place."

A 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old youth have been arrested and bailed until October 7.

Any information about the attack should be given to Barking CID on 020 8217 5535 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Ms O'Connor said the prompt action of ambulance staff saved the man's life.

She said: "They stabbed him four times in the chest, puncturing his lung.

"The paramedics basically ended up doing open-heart surgery in the street to save him."

She also made a plea for potential witnesses to come forward, saying: "This happened on a busy cut-through on a summer's day. There must be other people who saw this incident.

"Maybe they didn't realise what they were seeing. If anyone knows anything about this, I would ask them to look to their conscience."