Share this article

print logo

Fatal stabbing occurs as Londoners shop

An 18-year-old man was fatally stabbed Monday and another was wounded in attacks on London's most famous retail street as thousands of shoppers flocked to Britain's capital seeking post-Christmas bargains.

The attacks on Oxford Street did little to deter shoppers crowding into neighboring stores in the landmark shopping district. Bargain hunters were also largely untroubled by a subway strike that disrupted the city's public transport services.

Selfridges department store -- close to the scene of the stabbing -- reported its biggest-ever first hour of business Monday morning, while the New West End Company, which represents businesses on central London's shopping streets, reported $23.5 million in sales in the first three hours.

Jace Tyrrell, of the New West End Company, said hundreds of thousands of people had visited central London retailers, despite action by police to cordon off parts of Oxford Street and temporarily close some stores.

Tyrrell said shopkeepers had requested a meeting with police to discuss the attacks. "We understand both incidents involved gangs of youth who were known to each other [and] the police, and did not involve individual shoppers," she said.

London's air ambulance helicopter had rushed to the street following the fatal stabbing.

Authorities said the victim died before medics could administer help, while amateur video footage showed police struggling to part large crowds of shopper to allow emergency vehicles to reach the man.

Police erected a tent outside a Foot Locker sports apparel store as they carried out investigations and confirmed that 10 people had been arrested in the death.

Officers said the second stabbing occurred nearby, but it wasn't known if the two attacks were linked.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne of the Metropolitan Police Service said two groups of young people appeared to have become involved in a large-scale altercation before the victim was killed.

Dunne said that little more was known about the circumstances but that there were likely to be large numbers of witnesses. "This is probably the busiest place in the United Kingdom right now, on the busiest shopping day," he told reporters at the scene.

"A number of weapons have been recovered from that scene -- whether I have got the murder weapon, I don't know. There's an assortment of items, but no guns," he said.

In the second attack, a 21-year-old man was stabbed in the leg and was being treated at a hospital.

On London's subway network, the train drivers' labor union staged a one-day strike to demand extra pay and additional time off for members working on the public holiday.

Despite the disruptions, huge crowds -- some lining up outside stores from midnight -- rushed into department stores in London and other British cities as soon as doors opened early Monday.

The London Underground, the organization that manages the subway system, condemned the strike, saying that it was pointless and that it demonstrated "a complete disregard for our customers." Authorities said extra buses were running in main shopping areas to handle the increased flow of travelers on one of the year's busiest shopping days.

The union has warned that it would stage three more strikes in January and February if the dispute is not resolved.

There are no comments - be the first to comment