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16th Sep 2021

Man has hand ‘chopped off at the wrist in London after vigilantes corner him’

Steve Hopkins

The teenager suffered ‘life-changing injuries’ amid reports of ‘escalating tensions’ around the area where the violence unfolded

A man reportedly had his hand cut off after being attacked with his own machete in east London.

A 19-year-old man was found with a “significant knife wound” to his arm on Golding St, Tower Hamlets Police said on Twitter, after officers were called there at 5.43pm on Sunday. A second man, aged 20, was found in Christian St with a less serious knife wound.

The more seriously hurt man suffered “life-changing injuries” and Whitechapel locals, the Evening Standard reported, suggested it was the result of angry vigilantes.

Police have not confirmed that and have asked the public “not to speculate” about the circumstances surrounding the incident after a disturbing video circulated on social media.

The footage, the newspaper said, showed a hooded man sitting on a curb nursing his arm and surrounded by a pool of his own blood. Police are investigating the footage, but are yet to make any arrests.

A local councillor was quoted by the newspaper as saying that locals had cornered a man who had reportedly brought a machete to the scene.

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In a Facebook post, the unnamed councillor had claimed: “Armed with machetes, this group has allegedly targeted innocent people in that area a few times. Locals decided to take matters into their own hands.

“Nobody should ever condone vigilantism like this but it should also be a lesson for people who carry knives: your weapon can easily be turned against you.”

Drill rapper Ak6ix7even said people had released “fake news” of him being involved in the attack after a photo emerged of him being arrested, the Standard reported. Ak6ix7even later said on Instagram that his arrest was unrelated to the incident, and was for possession.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “We are aware of a video on social media showing a male who is visibly injured on a street in Tower Hamlets, followed by officers making arrests.

“The first half of the video appears to have been filmed following an incident in Golding Street, E1 that is under investigation.”

She added: “We are aware of commentary on social media about the circumstances that led to the incident. An investigation is ongoing and we would urge people not to speculate.”

A day after the incident, Tower Hamlets Police wrote on Twitter that it was recently made aware of “escalating tensions within the Golding Street and Stroudley Walk area between specific groups” and as a result, additional search powers had been authorised.

However, the tweet continued, “nobody was searched within the specified area during the specified time and no serious violence reported”.

In respect of the video, police said its origins are being investigated, but “at present, there is no evidence to suggest it is recent or linked to these tensions.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information about what took place is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC, giving the reference 5643/12SEP. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.