The Metropolitan Police have renewed an appeal to trace a man of South Asian appearance in connection with a number of unprovoked assaults on Jewish people in Hackney.
Detectives have been conducting extensive enquiries following the series of incidents, which all occurred on August 18.
At 6.41pm a 30-year-old man was struck on the head with a bottle, sustaining no injuries. At 7.10pm a 14-year-old boy was approached and assaulted without warning, sustaining no lasting injuries. At approximately 8.30pm a 64-year-old male was stuck in the face, suffering facial injuries and breaking a bone in his foot after falling to the floor. Officers have also been informed of a fourth and fifth victim who have yet to contact police.
Last Friday officers attended multiple synagogues and mosques in the Stamford Hill area to hand out appeal leaflets featuring the man’s image, while CCTV and forensic work is ongoing.
Officers have also been working closely with senior figures from both the local Jewish and Muslim communities, who have been united in condemnation of the man’s actions.
Detective Chief Inspector Yasmin Lalani, senior investigating officer, said: “The attacks have caused considerable shock and concern from both communities, and we have been working closely with prominent members in a common effort to find the man pictured.
“All of the victims reported that the man approached without warning and assaulted them before quickly leaving. He is not reported to have said anything. We retain an open mind behind the motive but the reported incidents are being treated as hate crimes.
“Clearly his pattern of behaviour is very unusual and concerning and we are doing everything we can to trace him. Efforts to trace a fourth suspected victim continue amid news that there was a fifth victim, who is now believed to be out of the country. We are working to get in touch with them to obtain a statement.”
One new line of enquiry is that the suspect is not local to the area and may have been visiting. Feedback from Jewish and Muslim communities so far indicates that the man has not been seen locally before.
DCI Lalani added: “We have recovered some CCTV capturing an apparent interaction between the man and shop staff in Seven Sisters Road which appears to indicate that the man may speak with a northern accent – possibly Yorkshire.
“While this is a very new development, I am urging communities in those areas to look closely at the pictures we have released, which are of very good quality, and tell us immediately if they recognise the man.”
Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, president of Shomrim North and East London, said: “Shomrim is working full-out to facilitate the arrest of the perpetrator of the recent spate of antisemitic attacks. This is in addition to our ongoing efforts, B’Ezras Hashem, to enhance the security of all people in our neighbourhood with extra patrols and measures to deter such incidents in the future.
“The Muslim community in Hackney stands together with the Jewish community. The enduring friendships and great working relationships should never be underestimated. These will definitely continue, whatever challenges are faced.”
Anyone who recognises the man, or who witnessed any of the assaults and is yet to speak with officers, is asked to come forward.
You can call police on 101 quoting reference 4492/20AUG. To remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.