British Museum stabbing: Man arrested after victim attacked while waiting in the queue

Man arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm following incident outside popular attraction

Holly Evans
Tuesday 08 August 2023 17:49 BST
British Museum Stabbing- Man Arrested After Knife Attack Victim Rushed To Hospital

Horrified witnesses described “pools of blood” after a man was stabbed while waiting in the queue outside the British Museum.

Officers were called to the world-renowned tourist attraction in London following reports of a knife attack on Tuesday morning, with an eyewitness reporting that a “pool and trail of blood” was visible on the ground.

Witnesses said the middle-aged male victim, who was stabbed in the arm, attempted to escape and was “dripping blood everywhere” along the busy street, which was packed with tourists.

Visitors have been evacuated while the victim has been taken to hospital (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

The man was initially treated at the scene and was taken by London Ambulance Service to hospital. He was taken to a major trauma unit and his condition is being assessed.

George Osborne, former chancellor and chairman of the British Museum, praised the emergency services after the “disturbing” attack, and added: “Everyone’s thoughts at the BM are with the victim and we wish him the best recovery.”

The Met Police said a man had been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous body harm following the incident.

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In a statement posted on social media, the force said: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of GBH following an isolated incident at the junction of Russell Street /Museum St approx 10am – a man was taken to hospital with a stab wound. No outstanding risk to the public.”

It said the stabbing was an isolated incident and was not being treated as terror-related.

An employee at a nearby souvenir shop told The Independent there was blood on the pavement which has since been washed away. Another local said they had heard “no screaming, no shouting” but later saw a trail of blood leading away from the Museum Tavern pub.

The victim has been rushed to hospital with an arm injury (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

An eyewitness told the Mirror: “A pool and trail of blood was clearly visible to hundreds of bystanders at the entrance of the museum. I saw an officer walk past with a large 30cm kitchen knife in hand.

“A large line of visitors to the museum were moved away from the scene. The response of the officers was calm despite the circumstances.”

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said it sent an ambulance crew and an incident response officer to the scene. “We treated a man at the scene for an arm injury before taking him to a major trauma centre as a priority,” it added.

The junction of Great Russell Street and Museum Street was close to the entrance of the famous museum after the attack while police investigated.

Visitors were evacuated from the museum, with the Financial Times journalist Keira Renee tweeting: “Was just waiting in line to enter. Being told by police that it’s a large crime scene and that the museum will be closed until tomorrow.”

The British Museum later confirmed it had reopened with increased security.

A statement said: “The museum was closed this morning due to an incident following a member of the public being attacked nearby.

“The museum’s security team supported at the scene until the emergency services arrived. Visitors were evacuated from the museum as a precaution and we wish the victim a full and swift recovery. The museum has now reopened with raised security including a heightened search operation.”

A tent has been erected at the scene while police investigate (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

One witness tweeted: “Within ten minutes of entering, they are kicking us out. The @britishmuseum is closing due to police alert?? A man with a knife in the queue.”

A 27-year-old American woman said she was about to enter the queue when she was told to leave by police because someone had been stabbed.

The visitor from New York was leaving a Starbucks near the museum on Great Russell Street when police approached her.

The incident is not being treated as terrorism-related (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

She said: “I was standing across the street at the Starbucks walking out to get into the line.

“We decided it was a good time to go, then we walked out and a cop directly in front of us told us we needed to leave and that the crime scene was large.

“I heard that someone was stabbed and the ambulance was parked inside near the grass area and then rushed down the street, right by me, with police following behind.”

Anyone with information or footage which could assist the police investigation is asked to contact police on 101, quoting CADF 2184/08AUG, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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