Man who drove at Maida Vale woman’s killer says he was trying to save her

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

A motorist who says he was trying to prevent a woman from being stabbed to death when he drove his car into her attacker has urged the police to reverse a decision to arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Yasmine Chkaifi, 43, was repeatedly and fatally stabbed by her ex-husband Leon McCaskre, 41, on a pavement in London’s Maida Vale on Monday morning. The motorist drove his blue Renault Clio into McCaskre, killing him.

The 26-year-old driver, who identified himself only as Abraham, issued a statement through his solicitor saying he had no intention of killing McCaskre and was only trying to stop him attacking Chkaifi. He urged the police to treat him as witness rather than a suspect.

“I do not see why I, as the person who tried to assist in the defence of other human beings, remain arrested and on bail under suspicion of murder,” he said. “I’ve asked my solicitor to contact the Metropolitan police to request that they consider de-arresting me and begin treating me as a witness to a tragic event rather than as a criminal.

“My instant thought was to protect the woman who had been stabbed and the public who were also being threatened. The vehicles ahead of me moved off which gave me the opportunity to intervene. I drove my vehicle towards the attacker in order to get him away from the woman he was attacking. I did not intend to harm the attacker, only intended to protect those being attacked.”

He added: “I have since learned that both the young lady and the attacker have died. I am deeply sorry that the man I tried to stop from attacking other people has died. It was never my intention to harm him.”

More than 26,000 people have signed a petition calling for the driver not to face criminal charges and describing him as a hero. Members of Chkaifi’s family have also reportedly praised him for his attempt to save her life.

A neighbour who said she used to hear McCaskre beating Chkaifi in the flat they used to share together also praised the driver. She said: “I think that man deserves a medal. It would be an absolute farce if that man got charged with anything. He saw a woman being attacked and he tried to do the best thing he could to help her. He didn’t know it was too late.”

More details have emerged about McCaskre’s violence towards Chkaifi. Speaking to a friend two years ago, she reportedly said: “I think he will kill me.”

Adele-Sara Richards, who knew her as Yaz, said that in April 2020 Chkaifi messaged her to say: “He’s had cameras in my house recording me for months. He’s stolen my mail, my phone, has access to all my personal data. I think he will kill me. I’ve tried everything.”

One of Chkaifi’s sons told MailOnline she had been continually harassed by her ex-husband, who he said had made her life “hell”. 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. 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. He was a monster.”

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