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Islington man stabbed for standing up to bus yobs

Thursday, September 22, 2011
9:16 AM

A heroic passenger who was stabbed while rescuing three pensioners from a gang of thugs has spoken of his ordeal.

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Police appeal

Police are appealing for witnesses to Mr Smits attack, which happened on the 488 bus between Dalston and Bromley-by-Bow on September 14 at around 11am.

The bus was in Parnell Road, Tower Hamlets, at the time of the attack.

Police are looking for the following three people, all aged between 16 and 20-years-old.

1 - A black male, approximately 6 ft tall, with a skinny build, wearing all black, the front of his hair sticking up, with plaits at the back.

2 - A white male, approximately 5 ft 10 ins tall, with a stocky build, wearing a red T-Shirt, black tracksuit bottoms and beanie hat. He is described as having a baby face.

3 - A white female, approximately 5 ft 03 ins tall, with a chunky build, wearing white leggings, dark brown long curly hair and black rimmed glasses.

Anyone with information can call DC Alex Wildish in the Violent Crime Unit on 0207 275 4772 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Timothy Smits, 32, an Australian who lives in Islington, was knifed twice as he travelled on the 488 bus last week.

But speaking to the Gazette this week, he refused to blame his assailants, saying they need better role models, that he does not consider street crime in London worse than anywhere else, and that people should stand up to anti-social behaviour.

Describing the events of last Wednesday on the bus between Dalston and Bromley-on-Bow, Mr Smits – who was discharged from hospital on Saturday – said: “It started off like any other day getting the bus. Some young idiots got on.

“They were harassing a young woman with her child in a pram, they wouldn’t let her past. These guys were clearly fishing for trouble. I let it slide for a couple of stops, but then some elderly women got on, about 70 years old. That is when I drew the line, I could not believe what these kids saying to them – swearing at them and not letting them through. I yelled ‘would you speak to your grandmother like that?’

“One marched down the bus and told me to shut up. He was in my face and threatening my life. I am a big guy and I am not normally scared by situations like that.

“I was starting to get nervous because I could see his hand going in his pocket.

“He hit me really hard, I have a suspected fractured jaw, and my head smashed into the window and started bleeding.

“I blacked out for a couple of seconds, but I managed to pin him down, then his friend grabbed me. I lost my grip, and the first guy pulled a knife and stabbed me in the stomach which bounced off my hip bone.

“That’s when I got really scared. He then stabbed me in the leg which was even worse. I tried to get to the back of the bus, then they forced the doors and jumped off.”

Fellow passengers rushed to Mr Smits’ aid and he was taken to hospital. “The worst thing was I could hear the elderly women crying and getting hysterical,” he said. “The last thing they needed was to see someone getting stabbed. I can’t believe people just let this happen.

“If everybody had said something the guy would have felt pretty pathetic. It wouldn’t have been just me against him.”

As he recovers from the attack, Mr Smits is worried about the long term effects.

“I don’t know how things will affect me. But I will not stop calling Islington home – this stuff happens everywhere – we need to find a way to stop this happening to other people.

“I don’t wish them dead and I don’t hate them. They obviously didn’t have the positive role models I had when I was growing up.

“I’m still angry, but these guys beat me physically, I don’t want them to beat me mentally too.

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