Coronavirus fears creating difficulties for police investigating fatal stabbing of Shadika Patel in East Ham
- Credit: Archant
The detective leading an investigation into the fatal stabbing of Shadika Patel has spoken of the difficulty coronavirus is causing in catching her killer.
Det Ch Insp Mark Wrigley appealed for people to come forward after mum of two Shadika was stabbed multiple times near the corner of Altmore Avenue and Barking Road, East Ham, at about 12.44am on March 19.
Det Ch Insp Wrigley said: “I really do thank the community because it’s a difficult time with people self-isolating.
“My team are forced to knock on doors, but we’re observing safe distance guidance. We know how difficult it is at the moment, but it’s important the public gives us any information. I don’t apologise for that.”
He explained fears over the virus created difficulties in police accessing CCTV, speaking to witnesses and the public as they make house to house enquiries.
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To date, two men have been arrested on suspicion of Shadika’s murder, one of whom has been bailed and the second released under investigation.
CCTV footage of a third suspect, a black or mixed race man aged 25 to 35 wearing a baseball cap and puffa-style jacket, was released on Sunday, March 22.
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Det Ch Insp Wrigley said: “It is really important we identify this man and do it very quickly. We have got a random, unprovoked attack on a lone woman.”
Police do not know why Shadika was in Altmore Avenue, but it was not unusual for the 40-year-old to be shopping at that time of day.
On the night of the attack, the suspect caught on CCTV tries starting a conversation with Shadika before she turns and starts to walk away. Moments later Shadika is stabbed multiple times in the back.
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as blood loss due to her wounds.
Little is known about Shadika, although police say she was a very private person, slight in stature and living alone.
Det Ch Insp Wrigley said: “Her family are extremely shocked and devastated about what’s gone on. They find it difficult to take it in and to see any reason for it. She posed no threat to anyone.
“We don’t believe she argued with the male. We don’t think she was in fear of him before the attack took place.”
He added that police couldn’t be sure if the suspect remained a threat to the public without knowing his motive, but said neighbourhood patrols have been stepped up.
“If anyone recognises this man or can name him, please let us know. If you know where he is, don’t approach him, contact the police. I’m confident someone locally knows who this man is,” Det Ch Insp Wrigley warned.
Detectives are also appealing for dash cam footage from vehicles seen passing Shadika and the suspect in Altmore Avenue. Assurance has been given that any video will be gathered in a way which doesn’t risk spreading the virus.
“We’ve been working flat out on this. It’s so important we get this man,” Det Ch Insp Wrigley said.
Anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV images, or who has information that may assist the investigation, is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 3715.
Details can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org
If you see him, call 999.