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  1. Updates on Thursday 4 August 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates on the Russell Square attacks have now ended for the day but our main news story will continue to be updated throughout the evening.

We'll be back at 08:00 on Friday with the latest videos, news, sport, travel and weather for London.

Russell Square eyewitness: 'It's so sad'

Shyam Sanghani who runs Imperial News and Gifts right opposite the attack scene said: "You don't expect it to happen. It's so sad.

"We had more armed police being announced yesterday and then this today - it's scary and it makes you think. We've been here a long time and to have two incidents is awful. This is our home." 

Shyam Sanghani

What we know about the Russell Square attacks

  • A man targeted six people with a knife in Russell Square, central London, at about 22:30 last night
  • An American woman, believed to have been in her 60s, was fatally stabbed. Matthew Barzun, US ambassador to the UK, described the news as "heartbreaking" in a tweet, adding: "My prayers are with all the victims and their loved ones."
  •  A 19-year-old man, a Norwegian national of Somali origin, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He emigrated from Norway in 2002.
  • Two women and three men suffered "various injuries" in the attack, with two remaining in hospital and the other three discharged. None is in a life-threatening condition. Those injured are Australian, American, Israeli and British.
  •  The victims were selected at random in a "spontaneous" rampage and no evidence has been found that the attack was motivated by terrorism, Scotland Yard said.
  • London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the public to remain "calm and vigilant".

Couple saw murder scene as they returned from theatre

A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a US citizen in her 60s was killed and five other people were injured in a knife attack in Russell Square.

Emma and Mark Pigdon visiting the capital from County Durham were their way back from the theatre when they saw the incident unfolding.

Russell Square

Emma said: "We just saw a woman lying on the street. She looked like she had a pattern on her clothes but it turned out to be blood.

"She was a really small lady, really slight, which made me think she was a teenager. We were shocked when we later heard she was in her 60s."

Aerials show stabbing investigation

Aerials shot earlier this morning showed police carrying out investigations around Russell Square where the stabbing attacks took place

Russell Square eyewitness: 'I thought it was a motorcycle accident'

Philippa Bagley saw the aftermath of the attack in London's Russell Square yesterday.

She was staying at the nearby Hotel President and was outside having a cigarette when she saw what she thought was the result of a road accident.

"It just looked like someone had collapsed or come off their bike. I thought it was maybe a motorcycle accident. It didn't look frantic at all but just Lots of people standing around."  

Philippa Bagley

Met steps up patrols in central London today 'as a precautionary measure'

Officer on patrol in central London

In his press conference earlier, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said: "This attack will cause concern.

"So as a precautionary measure we have increased the number of officers out on the streets today and that will continue for as long as we need it to.

"I want everyone who is out and about in London today - our residents; businesses or visitors - to know that the Met is totally committed to doing everything we can do to protect you."

Flowers being laid where American was killed

Russell Square
Getty Images

As the day has gone on, members of the public and representatives of local businesses have being laying floral tributes at the scene where the American woman was killed. 

No personal messages were attached to the flowers, some of which carried general messages of condolences.

Flowers left at Russell Square

US ambassador pays tribute to killed American

Camden Council leader urges calm and vigilance

Police in Russell Square in the borough of Camden
Police in Russell Square in the Borough of Camden

Councillor Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, the authority which covers Bloomsbury, said: “I am deeply saddened by the terrible incident in Russell Square. My thoughts are with the victims, and their families and friends.

“I’ve spoken to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe this morning who has updated me on the investigation. I would like to thank the police for their response to this difficult situation and acknowledge the hard work they are now engaged in to investigate the incident. They have the council’s full support. “The safety of everyone who lives or works in Camden, as well as those who are visiting, is our priority. While tragic incidents such as last night’s are rare, I do urge people to report anything suspicious to the police. Please remain calm while we continue to work with the police, other emergency services and the Mayor of London to reassure our communities.”

Israeli among injured in Russell Square stabbing attack

The Jewish Chronicle

An Israeli tourist was injured in the stabbing attack in central London.

A spokesperson for the embassy of Israel confirmed one of the victims was an Israeli woman on holiday in the UK visiting friends and family.

Suspect emigrated Norway in 2002 - says Norwegian Police

Norwegian Police say they are helping their Met Police counterparts with their investigation into last night's murder and stabbings.

They can confirm, however, that the suspect is a Norwegian citizen but who left Norway in 2002, when he was about five years old.

Footage of knife suspect on the ground

Video from a pedestrian shows the police restraining the suspect

Houses searched following Russell Square attack

Mark Rowley

This morning officers searched an address in north London and will search another in south London. 

Mark Rowley, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, said: "I emphasise that so far we have found no evidence of radicalisation that would suggest the man in our custody is in any way motivated by terrorism.

"The suspect is a Norwegian national, of Somali origin. I stress though that all the work we have done so far does not suggest that those factors in his background are relevant to the motivation for his actions."

Watch: Metropolitan Police statement on knife attacks

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley spoke outside of Scotland Yard

Jeremy Corbyn praises police actions

Jeremy Corbyn

In a speech in Dagenham earlier, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "We should express our sympathies to the family of the poor woman who was stabbed to death last night in Russell Square and thank the police for the action they took very quickly to make the area safe."

"I would urge no-one to speculate on the reasons or the causes for it, but to be grateful that we have efficient emergency services that were able to bring about some safety for that area at the present time," he said.

'We believe this was a spontaneous attack' - police

As well as revealing details about the suspect and victims, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley has revealed more details about the investigation:

Mark Rowley

"The investigation is fast paced and we are making urgent progress.

"While the investigation is not yet complete, all of the work that we have done so far increasingly points as having been triggered by mental health issues.

"At this time we believe this was a spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random."

He also described how police had "searched addresses in north London" and we will search another in south London.

"I emphasise that so far we have found no evidence of radicalisation that would suggest that the man in our custody is in any way motivated by terrorism," he added.

Condition of victims 'not life threatening'

Mr Rowley said the injured victims "are not in a life threatening condition".

Suspect a Norwegian national of Somali origin

The 19-year-old who has been held on suspicion of murder is "a Norwegian national of Somali origin", Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said.

BreakingMurdered woman was from the US

The Met have confirmed the woman killed in last night's attack was from the US.

Assistant commissioner for specialist operations Mark Rowley said the other five injured are from UK, USA, Israel and Australia.

Tourist eyewitness describes scene of the attack

Emma Atkinson

BBC News

Russell Square - scene of the attack

Emma and Mark Pigdon, from County Durham, have been staying at the nearby President Hotel in Bloomsbury.

The couple had been to the theatre when they came back and saw a woman lying on the street.

Emma described the scene: "She was a small lady. Really slight which made me think she was a teenager. We were shocked when we later heard she was in her 60s. She had what looked like a pattern on her clothes but I think it was blood.

"There was another injured man sat neary with his top off and something wrapped around his chest. He looked like he was in his 30s.

"A woman was sat crying next to the lady's body."

'No-one knew each other' - witness

A cyclist who was passing through Russell Square moments after the stabbing, described how he was flagged down for help by a Spanish family.

Fernando, 40, from Brazil, said he was the first to call the ambulance and saw an "older woman" slumped against the railings with a stab wound to her back, an English man with an injury to his upper chest, and a younger girl with a wound on her upper arm.

Evidence tent in Russell Square
Getty Images

He said: "I was just cycling by when I saw that. The Spanish family just stopped me, just asked me 'Call someone, call an ambulance'.

"There were three people stabbed. The older woman was slumping against the gates, and it was another two people. One of the Spanish family was comforting the older woman. 

"I thought they were friends, but then I realised that they were just passing. No-one knew each other."

"The moment the police arrived, they asked them if the man had been shouting. They said that he didn't say anything. They said that when he stabbed the people he didn't shout or scream anything," he said.

Exclusive: Eyewitness footage of Russell Square incident

Sir Bernard proud of officers who tackled Russell Square attacker

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

The investigation is "moving very quickly", Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said. 

"As we have already made clear, mental health remains a substantial focus for our investigation. 

"Every day in London, my officers patrol and carry out operations to catch criminals in the knowledge that they face risk and danger. 

"I am proud that last night our specialist firearms officers were on the scene in six minutes and, using only a Taser, detained the subject. That demonstrates our commitment to use force in a professional and proportionate way. 

"Their swift response undoubtedly helped to prevent more people from getting injured." 

BreakingMet chief vows to protect Londoners after 'horrific' night

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has vowed to "protect our capital and those who live, work and visit our city" after the Russell Square stabbings, adding: "A normal night out in our busy capital has ended in horrific circumstances."

Other news in London today

All I heard was shouting 'put it down, put it down' - student

Ellie Cattle, 21, who is staying in a hotel in the road, said: "I looked out of my window because I heard sirens.

"I could see police - three police vans - coming down the road, and all I heard was them shouting 'Put it down, put it down'. 

"They sounded urgent for him to put it down.

"Then I heard what sounded like a gunshot, but it must have been the Taser. After that they just stopped shouting. I didn't hear any screams from anyone." 

However, the criminology student from Hull, East Yorkshire, said as police stormed the quiet hotel-lined street, two screaming women ran down the road.  

At the scene

Emma Atkinson

BBC News

Location of attack

Walking around the park at Russell Square, a busy area for tourists with two hotels, cafes and a few souvenir shops, it almost feels like just another weekday morning. A few dog walkers and commuters buying their first coffee of the day.

But just a few metres away along Southampton Row, a different story has been taking place.

Earlier, police tape cordoned off a wide section of road and a white and yellow tent marked the point where one of the stabbings took place.

Two small bunches of flowers have been left along the park railings.

The forensic tent has now been cleared away and the pavement scrubbed clean, as officers gather the remnants of a few first aid bags that were left scattered on the pavement from the emergency teams.

The area along Southampton Row is now being released from the police cordon and the blue and white tape is being taken down.

Officers in high visibility vests are still gathered, and a few TV cameras remain, but the street is beginning to look like normal again.

Shyam Sanghani
Shyam Sanghani described the events as "scary"

Shyam Sanghani, who runs Imperial News and Gifts opposite the scene of the attack, said: "We had more police announced yesterday and then this today, it's scary.

"We had Russell Square bombing just close by and now this. We've been here a long time and to have two incidents is awful. This is our home."

What we know so far about Russell Square stabbings

  • A man targeted six people with a knife in Russell Square at about 22:30 last night
  • A woman, believed to have been in her 60s, was fatally stabbed, and five other people were injured
  • A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder
  • Two women and three men suffered "various injuries" in the attack, with two remaining in hospital and the other three discharged.
  • Counter-terrorism officers are supporting the investigation into the incident, although Scotland Yard said early indications suggest mental health "was a factor"
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the public to remain "calm and vigilant"

More armed police in London

Armed police

Last night's stabbing came hours after the Met said security in the capital would be increased.

Yesterday, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and London Mayor Sadiq Khan had said there would be more armed police seen on patrol in London.

Sir Bernard announced the move to reassure the public and deter attackers following terror attacks in Europe.

Sadiq Khan cuts short holiday following attack

View more on twitter

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has cut short his holiday in Italy following the Russell Square attack.

He will be giving an on camera briefing at City Hall at 15:00.

In an earlier statement, the mayor urged Londoners to "remain calm and vigilant".

Arrested man 'was screaming'

The BBC's Richard Galpin says the motive for the attack remains unclear

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was killed and five injured in a knife attack in Russell Square, central London.

The BBC's Richard Galpin spoke to a witness at the scene who a said a man was "screaming his guts out" as he was detained.

Roads and pathways open around Russell Square

BBC Radio London

Russell Square

The roads and pathways around Russell Square are now open following last night's knife attack.

The evidence tent has also been taken away and the spot cleaned by specialist teams.

Police cordons had been in place investigations were carried out by forensic officers.

Subtle change in Met press statement

Nick Beake

Home affairs correspondent, BBC London

Police officer at scene

There is a subtle change in the Met's latest statement where it says "we focus... on mental health while retaining an open mind".

Earlier statements included the line "terrorism remains one line of the inquiry being explored" but that has now been removed.

Man in custody in south London police station

Scotland Yard have released an updated statement about the Russell Square stabbings.

Russell Square map

They say a 19-year-old man who was held under armed guard following the attack has now left hospital.

He has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held in a south London police station.

Of the five people injured, two remain in hospital but three others have been discharged.

Most cordons around Russell Square have been lifted but one road remains closed.

"It was wall-to-wall armed police"

Pol O'Geibheannigh, 45, was walking back from the cinema when he saw a massive police presence and a woman lying in a pool of blood. 

He said: "I just knew right away that this is not right. You just don't see armed police around this area. 

"This was just wall to wall with armed police. You could see a woman on the floor. 

"She was lying in a pool of blood with a red blanket on top of her. I went into the bar and it wasn't until an hour later that they put the tent up. 

"And then at about 12.30, when we were coming out, there were about five or six people running off towards Bedford Square. 

"That level of police presence I haven't seen since 7/7 and I was here - I live around the corner.

"But it was just a matter of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Suspect released from hospital and now in police custody

The 19-year-old suspect has been released from hospital and is now in a south London police station having been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Watch: Forensic teams at London attack scene

The BBC's Andy Moore reports from Russell Square in London, where a woman has been killed and five others injured in a knife attack.

'We should not jump to conclusions' - counter terrorism expert

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Police forensic officer

Kevin Hurley, former lead on counter terrorism at City of London Police, told BBC Radio 4' Today programme that "we should not jump to conclusions and say that this is terrorist-related".

"However, it is another reminder of the fact that we need to do more, potentially, to stop people from being groomed on the internet and hate creatures spreading some unpleasantness," he said.

The Met have said they are keeping "an open mind regarding motive".

Mental health 'factor in knife attack'

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley has said mental health is a major line of enquiry in a London knife attack.  

Mental health 'factor in knife attack'