'Teenager' stabs young mother in front of her son, 3, in Caedmon Road
PUBLISHED: 11:49 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:37 10 June 2019
A young mum was stabbed in the leg in front of her three-year-old son in a "broad daylight, targeted and totally unprovoked attack" in Holloway on Friday.
Nursery teacher and mother-of-three Christel Stanfield-Bruce was pushing her sleeping son home when a "teenager" approached and demanded her phone - before stabbing her with "a deep, wide blade". He fled without taking the mobile or her bag.
The attack happened in Caedmon Road - and Christel's husband, Quinn, who says she's lucky to be alive, is demanding a "city-wide manhunt" to catch her aggressor.
"I wasn't really aware of anybody behind me," Christel told the Gazette. "Until a guy came up behind me and asked: 'Can you tell me where the Emirates Stadium is?'
"So I turned around to gesture in that direction, and then he said: 'Give me your phone'. I said: 'No'. He reached around and stabbed me in the back of my left thigh and ran off.
"To be honest I wasn't really aware of how bad it was at the time. It felt like a barbecue skewer. It felt thin. [...]
"I wasn't in any hyper-vigilant state. Obviously, if I'm walking alone at night I'm vigilant. But I was completely oblivious to the danger.
"It's lucky it didn't hit the major artery in my leg."
Doctors told her the blade was millimetres away from hitting a tendon.
"I'm just in shock still," she added. "And the anxiety about leaving the house is starting to build up. This morning I was thinking: 'Gosh, I'm going to have to leave the safety soon.'"
Christel, 36, added: "It's terrifying when there is such young children [stabbing people]," she added. "In a way I feel sorry for him because what kind of life are you living when you think going around stabbing random women is a good idea? I will get over this, eventually, I'll have a bit of therapy - but if he gets caught he will have ruined his life."
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She believes the stabbing was some kind of initiation ceremony, as he made no real attempt to take her phone or bag, and looked "terrified" and "more scared" than she did.
"It makes you think about knife crime," she added. "And the fact there seems to be no code of conduct if a woman with a child can get attacked in the street in broad daylight."
Quinn, 34, told the Gazette he was with their other two children, aged 8 and 5, at a school disco when he heard she'd been attacked.
He said: "She phoned me from the ambulance and said; 'I was stabbed and they're taking me to St Mary's major trauma unit.' I don't really have words for this - it's sort of a state of numbness.
"For me it was like: 'What do you mean? It's broad daylight, you have [my son] in the buggy with you...
"He asked for her phone and then stabbed her without even taking it. For me it's not even about the robbery - what I'm super petrified is if this is about an initiation. A calculated robbing; stabbing of mothers in broad daylight. This is a whole new level of depravity."
Christel was discharged in the early hours of Saturday morning and is recovering at home on antibiotics. But she's still, understandably, in a state of shock.
Quinn added: "Detectives are desensitised to stabbings but even they said they haven't seen anything like this before. I can't believe a city-wide manhunt isn't underway. What if she had died? This is intolerable. It has breached another level."
Scotland Yard is investigating and wants to trace a male, aged "14 to 16" in relation to the attack. No arrests have been made.
A Met Police spokesperson said: "The [attacker] is described as a black male, 5ft 3ins, of large build and was wearing dark coloured clothing, including a jacket and a 'trucker' style cap at the time of the attack."
Anyone who witnessed this incident or has information is asked to call West Area Command on 101 quoting CAD6063/07JUN, Tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The attack came 24 hours before an 18-year-old man was shot and stabbed in Pooles Park, off Seven Sisters Road. A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of GBH in connection to this incident.