Woman reportedly beheaded in broad daylight in a London garden


Forensic investigators examine a property in London where a woman is thought to have been beheaded Sept. 4. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A 25-year-old man was arrested in connection with the death of a woman who was reportedly beheaded in the back garden of a North London home on Thursday afternoon.

The attack occurred in the middle of the day, around 1:00 p.m., in the residential neighborhood, and police sought to allay fears that it might be related to terrorism. Witnesses reported seeing the attacker walking around the neighborhood wielding a machete.

“He was waving a huge machete around like a madman. He was shouting stuff. It didn’t make sense, it was like he was speaking in tongues,” Freda Odame, who lives near the area where the woman was found, told the London Evening Standard.

When police arrived at the scene, they found a “collapsed” woman. They later cornered the man in a house nearby. Several officers evacuated homes in the vicinity and “distracted” the man to prevent him from carrying out other attacks, said Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford.

Officers used a Taser to apprehend the suspect, who is being treated at a hospital for injuries, according to Huffington Post UK. One officer also suffered a broken wrist, police said in a statement.

In a statement, lead investigator John Sandlin said he is confident that the attack is not terror-related.

“This is a highly visible attack in broad daylight on a residential street. I can understand why this may cause people concern, however we are confident that we are not looking for anyone else at this stage,” Sandlin said in a statement. “Whilst it is too early to speculate on what the motive behind this attack was, I am confident, based on the information currently available to me, that it is not terrorist-related.”

Police have not specified how the woman was killed or what type of weapon was involved.

In light of the brutal campaign waged in Iraq by the militant group Islamic State, and ties within that organization to Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that an independent commission had raised the country’s terror threat level to “severe,” which means that an attack is “highly likely.”

Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip

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