Maida Vale: Thousands sign petition supporting 'hero driver who mowed down knife attacker'

26 January 2022, 12:46 | Updated: 26 January 2022, 13:07

Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, from Maida Vale, was found with stab injuries in Chippenham Road.
Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, from Maida Vale, was found with stab injuries in Chippenham Road. Picture: Alamy/Met Police

By Sophie Barnett

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for a driver who "mowed down a knife attacker" in west London not to face charges.

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The petition, which brands the driver a "hero", has been signed by nearly 5,000 people since the horrific attack on Monday morning.

The driver, a 26-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of murder after ploughing into Leon McCaskre, 41, as he stabbed his ex-partner Yasmin Chkaifi to death in the street in front of horrified witnesses.

Ms Chkaifi, 43, who was described as having a "heart of gold" was found with stab injuries in Chippenham Road during rush-hour at around 9am.

A number of people had tried to stop McCaskre before the driver hit him with his blue Renault.

Both McCaskre and Ms Chkaifi were pronounced dead at the scene.

Read more: Pictured: Mum, 43, with 'heart of gold' stabbed to death in Maida Vale killings

The driver, who remained at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of murder and has since been released on bail until late February while the police investigation continues.

Officers said he was fully cooperative with the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Rawlinson, of the Met's Specialist Crime Command, said on Tuesday it was apparent that members of the public bravely tried to intervene to stop the attack, describing their actions as "courageous".

Visiting the site of the tragedy, the victim's tearful son, who has not been named, said: "She didn't deserve to die, please keep her in your prayers. Everyone who knew her knew she was a good person."

A woman who said she was the victim's aunt said the mother left behind two children age 12 and 18.

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Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, from Maida Vale.
Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, from Maida Vale. Picture: Met Police

She added: "She had a heart of gold and was so, so beautiful. I am broken hearted. She never hated anyone and had so many friends from so all different backgrounds."

Another family member added: "Everyone is still so shocked. It was my auntie. We have all lived in the area for years."

The petition, entitled "Maida Vale driver is a hero and shouldn't be charged with murder", has already been signed by almost 5,000 people.

One of Ms Chkaifi's sons told MailOnline that McCaskre had made her life hell, and called him a "monster".

He said: "It was a very abusive relationship which got worse after the divorce.

"My mother was continually being harassed and intimidated by this man.

"He made her life hell.

"I was always in touch with the police but they did nothing to help her.

"There was even a panic alarm installed in our flat - that's how scared she was of this man."