Man who tried to trip stabbing suspect fears he'll lose benefits


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The Independent Online

The passer-by who tried to trip a fleeing youth moments after a man was stabbed at the Notting Hill Carnival has revealed he fears his bravery may cost him his disability allowance.

Valentine Simatchenko, a former Russian policeman who fought as a rebel in Chechnya's war for independence, kicked out "instinctively" as the stabbing suspect ran past in the street on Monday.

Widely published pictures showing the immediate aftermath of the stabbing captured Mr Simatchenko lunging out with his left leg to try to trip the fleeing suspect, while the blood-stained victim could be seen staggering in the background, shortly before collapsing in the street.

But Mr Simatchenko now fears the images made him look more athletic than someone in receipt of disability living allowance should be and that it may now be rescinded.

"It is a big problem for me because I am disabled and this picture does not look good. I have problems this picture is not right," he said.

"Nothing happened. I did nothing really. All I wanted to do was to help the police try and stop that bastard. It all happened so fast and I just acted instinctively – I was annoyed he got away but am pleased to hear the police have been making arrests." He added: "I'm unemployed and know how hard life can be, but there is never any excuse for violence like that."

Mr Simatchenko had been enjoying the Notting Hill festivities with his wife Marina when he saw the fleeing youth and tried to stop him.

He was granted political asylum in 1996 after arriving in Britain from Chechnya, where he fought for the Chechen rebels. In 1995 he suffered a serious stomach injury which he said was sustained in the fighting.

Rio Andre, the 20-year-old stabbed in the abdomen, suffered serious injuries, and was described as "lucky to be alive". A 16-year-old boy has been charged with GBH with intent and possession of an offensive weapon. He cannot be named.