Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phantom Of The Opera Attack

An east London woman killed by a knifeman wearing a Phantom Of The Opera-style mask has been named by Scotland Yard. A spokesman said Sehrish Waqar Sheikh was aged 23 and from Dagenham.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The suspect wore a Phantom of the Opera-style mask and wig when stabbing and killing his alleged ex-girlfriend whom he was stalking, then injured her best friend and turned his knife on himself in a gruesome attack in East London on Monday, September 22, 2008.

Waqar, of Pakistani origin, died at the scene in an office belonging to St George’s College in Plaistow. She was found partially clothed with stab wounds to the chest and neck, Scotland Yard said. She was a receptionist at the private college for international students.

Her friend, college manager Kiran Asghar, was also hurt but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

According to witnesses, Asghar ran out of the building screaming: “He’s killing her.”

Friends told how Waqar was preparing for a January wedding in Dubai.

Mohammed Noorani, landlord to Asghar and her husband Irfan Sheikh - who owns the small language and business school based in a first-floor office above shops - said: "She was engaged to a man in Dubai. She was very much looking forward to getting married."

When police and ambulance services arrived at the scene just after 6pm yesterday, the knifeman tried to kill himself.
A police source described the incident as a “frenzied attack”.

“First of all he launched himself at the dead girl’s best friend and stabbed her. Then he turned his attention to his ex-girlfriend, stabbed her and killed her.

“Police and the ambulance were called and arrived straight away. He panicked and tried to kill himself by stabbing himself in the neck.”

Malik Ijaz, 40, who runs a builders merchants underneath the college, said that the knifeman continued stabbing his ex-girlfriend even after she was unconscious.

“It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “I saw something so brutal and something I can’t explain.

“One girl came down screaming that she had been stabbed. I went up there and saw a man in a mask stabbing a girl. I don’t know how many times he stabbed her, but she had already passed out and he was still stabbing her.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed today that they had arrested a 29-year-old man. He remains under police guard in hospital, where he is believed to be in a stable condition.

"At this early stage no-one else is sought in connection with the incident," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

A murder inquiry has been launched, led by Detective Chief Inspector Bob Mahoney.

Mr Mahoney said: “A man wearing a mask and a wig has was seen prior to the incident. It was a black curly wig and a white mask in a Phantom of the Opera style.”

A worker in a nearby kebab shop said today that he knew the 23-year-old victim: “She would come in here every lunchtime. She was so bubbly, such a nice, pretty girl. She had been a receptionist at the college for about a year.”

(Thanks to Benjamin Singleton and Todd Campbell for bringing this event to my attention.)

(BTW, a language arts teacher is mentioned in my posting on the Olympic Peninsula rampage of Saturday, September 20, 2008. Also, I note the strange name game link that incident has to the Kip Kinkel school shooting, ten years ago, where Kinkel killed his Spanish teacher parents before going to school to murder two classmates.)

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