Police referred themselves to the watchdog over the murder of Yasmin Chkaifi, who was stabbed by his ex-partner. She had a hold on him. Click above to view video report of Sam Holder
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for a driver who was run over by a knife-wielding man to be “a hero” and urging him not to be charged with a crime.
The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder after driving into Leon McCaskre, 41, when he stabbed his former partner Yasmin Chkaifi to death on the street in Maida Vale in front of horrified witnesses.
A number of people had tried to stop McCaskre before the driver hit him with his car in Maida Vale in west London on Monday morning.
Relatives of Yasmin Chkaifi, who had two sons, have also allegedly praised the driver for trying to stop the fatal attack.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder and has since been released on bail until late February, while police investigation continues.
On Wednesday nearly 5,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org with the title: “Maida Vale driver is a hero and should not be charged with murder”.
One of Yasmin’s friends said she lived in fear that her ex-partner would kill her.
Adele-Sara Richards said in April 2020 that Ms. Chkaifi sent a message to her to say, “He has had cameras in my house that have been recording me for several months.”
She continued: “He has stolen my mail, my phone, has access to all my personal data.
“I think he’s going to kill me. I’ve tried everything.”
One of her sons told MailOnline that she had been constantly harassed by her ex-husband, who had made her life a “hell”.
He said: “It was a very violent relationship, which got worse after the divorce.
“My mother was constantly harassed and intimidated by this man.
“He turned her life into hell.
“I was always in touch with the police, but they did nothing to help her.
“There was even a panic alarm installed in our apartment – she was so scared of this man.
“He was a monster.”
There has also been praise for Mrs Chkaifi, who was a qualified daycare worker, had worked at a school and studied for a master’s degree.
U.S. PhD student Olivia Jones, 30, who lives in Brent, said: “I did not know Yasmin well, but she made me feel like I did. A year ago, Yasmin opened its doors to my partner and I at the time and hosted us for a meal.
“She was incredibly kind, hospitable and an amazing cook and dancer. She had a bubbly personality and a confidence that was so attractive.
“She was proud of her Moroccan heritage and a spiritual woman. We talked about Islam, identity and social justice. She was a good person.”
Family members also paid tribute to Yasmin Chkaifi, also known as Wafat, in a statement on Facebook.
They said: “She was full of life, always remained positive and always saw the best in everyone.
“Wafat loved to laugh, dance and leave a special impact on the lives of everyone who had to share it with her. She has really let many break from this horrible and tragic news.
“Wafat was the most pure and genuine soul you would meet. She has left behind two amazing boys who will continue her legacy of being pure souls.”
Detective Inspector Neil Rawlinson of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said members of the public had “bravely tried to intervene to stop the attack, and their actions were very courageous”.
He said the force “gets a clearer idea of what happened on the spot, thanks to information provided by the public and by reviewing CCTV”.
He added: “We are talking to the families of those affected and doing everything we can to support them in this terrible time.
“A man who was the driver of a car has been arrested and released for a very serious offense and we need to conduct a full investigation where we look at all the circumstances.”