The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog after thousands of people signed a petition demanding that a “heroic” driver, who knocked down and killed a knifeman does not face criminal charges.
Yasmin “Wafah” Chkaifi, a 43-year-old mother of two, was murdered just minutes away from her home by her ex-partner on a busy road outside the entrance to a park in Maida Vale, west London.
A 26-year-old motorist, believed to be an electrician from Chechnya who was on his way to work, is alleged to have run over and killed the knifeman, Leon McCaskre, during the assault, before being arrested on suspicion of murder.
He has since been released on bail.
At the time of the killing, McCaskre, 41, was wanted for allegedly breaching a stalking restraint order and not turning up for a court hearing.
Thousands sign petition for motorist
A petition was launched on Wednesday on Change.org entitled: “Maida Vale driver is a hero and shouldn’t be charged with murder”
A statement on the website read: “[The driver] does not deserve a prison sentence. He acted to stop this horror.”
The petition was started on the same day the Metropolitan Police confirmed it was referring itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over “contact it had with Ms Chkaifi” prior to her death.
It is alleged that McCaskre physically abused Ms Chkaifi during their two-year relationship.
After McCaskre and Ms Chkaifi split up three years ago, she secured a restraining order against him and installed a panic alarm in her flat, one of her sons said.
McCaskre had missed a scheduled court appearance on January 4 at Westminster Magistrates Court where he was due to face a charge of breaching a stalking order that forbade him from contacting Ms Chkaifi.
Court staff said a warrant was issued that same day for McCaskre’s arrest.
A spokesman from the IOPC said: “We can confirm that we have received a referral from the Metropolitan Police regarding their contact with Yasmin Chkaifi prior to her tragic death in Maida Vale, London on 24 January.”
Speaking to MailOnline, a friend of the “hero” driver, who did not wish to be named, said the man was “still in shock and trying to process what had happened.”
The driver was said to be a married father of two, with a pregnant wife, who was on his way to work in Bayswater when he drove past the horrific attack.
He added: “At first he shouted at the attacker but when that didn’t make a difference, he locked his car doors and drove at him…
“He’s devastated by what happened because he wanted to save this woman’s life. He stood up for what is right and should not be punished.”