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Surrey terror attack: Police say assailant shouted far-right slogans before stabbing man in Stanwell

Officers believe teenage victim, a southern European man, may have been targeted because of 'ethnic appearance'

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Monday 18 March 2019 18:46 GMT
Police in Viola Avenue in Stanwell, Surrey where they are investigating a stabbing in which a man rampaged with a baseball bat and knife while hurling racist abuse.
Police in Viola Avenue in Stanwell, Surrey where they are investigating a stabbing in which a man rampaged with a baseball bat and knife while hurling racist abuse. (PA)

An assailant shouted extreme far-right slogans before stabbing a teenager in an alleged terror attack in Surrey, police have said.

It comes two days after a 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder over the incident in Stanwell, which has been declared a terrorist incident.

Detective Superintendent Nigel Doak, of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said the 19-year-old victim was southern European and “may have been targeted due to his ethnic appearance” on Saturday.

“Whilst this investigation remains in the early stages, it has continued to show the hallmarks of a terrorist event,” he added.

“It is believed that the offender made racial comments and statements promoting extreme far right-views before carrying out the attack.

“We are continuing to work closely with our colleagues in Surrey Police to build a better picture of what happened and to provide reassurance to the community.”

In an unrelated incident in London last year, an Italian man was beaten by a group of drunken racists because they incorrectly thought he was Muslim.

Searches have been carried out at a house in Viola Avenue, Stanwell, and a cordon remained in place.

The suspect is being held under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and police have been granted a warrant of further detention, allowing them to question him until Saturday without charge.

Investigators are appealing for anyone who witnessed or filmed the incident, which started place shortly after 10pm on Saturday, to come forward.

Officers were first called to Viola Avenue in Stanwell, to reports of a man acting aggressively and shouting racist comments whilst carrying a baseball bat and a knife. Several vehicles were damaged.

Another call at 11.10pm reported that a man had been stabbed in a nearby Tesco car park.

Armed officers detained the 50-year-old shortly afterwards.

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The victim sustained serious injuries to his hands, going into a McDonalds to seek help and being taken to hospital by ambulance.

He has undergone surgery and was discharged from hospital on Monday.

Detective Superintendent Karen Mizzi, from Surrey Police, said: “Patrols have been stepped up across Stanwell in order to provide assurances to those in the area specifically around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faiths, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.”

The Stanwell incident came a day after the terror attack that left 50 Muslims dead at two mosques in New Zealand, igniting global fears over the threat from far-right extremists.

“Police are committed to tackling all forms of toxic extremist ideology, which has the potential to threaten public safety and security,” Det Supt Doak said. “Extreme right-wing investigations are pursued by our officers with the same level of resource and determination as other forms of extremist ideology.”

Police are investigating an alleged hate-crime attack outside a London mosque on Saturday and have arrested a couple who allegedly threatened a taxi driver in Rochdale.

Greater Manchester Police have made several other arrests related to online comments and malicious communications linked to the Christchurch terror attack.

Anyone with information or footage of the Stanwell incident is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101, quoting reference number 19060857.

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