Manhunt continues for racist thug

A SHOCKING hate crime that saw a Muslim woman beaten and set alight in her Lisson Grove home has left her community in fear. Their worries are heightened as the attacker is still on the loose eight months after the incident. There has been

Sanchez Manning

A SHOCKING hate crime that saw a Muslim woman beaten and set alight in her Lisson Grove home has left her community in fear.

Their worries are heightened as the attacker is still on the loose eight months after the incident.

There has been substantial work by police into the case - with 30 to 40 officers involved - since the investigation launched last September, say Westminster CID.


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DS Joanne Belton said: "We've worked very, very hard to find the person who committed this crime.

"We have completed substantial enquiries - interviewing witnesses, going house to house and looking at forensics and CCTV evidence."

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But Mustapha Ragab, chairman of the Lisson Grove-based UK Egyptian Association, says Muslim people in the area are becoming increasingly angry that someone is yet to be caught.

He said: "The community is very angry and what makes this even more serious is that there's a very dangerous man out there who has managed to cover his crime so well.

"They are living in fear that something like this can happen without the police being able to catch the offender."

The victim has described to Mr Ragab the ordeal she suffered on September 18.

"It was during Friday prayers at the end of Ramadan when the lady was at home on her own and this man knocked on the door," he said.

"He told her he was from the council and had come to check her flat.

"When he got in the house, he beat her up, tied her up, stole her valuables and was making racist remarks.

"He was saying, 'This is your Eid present' and called her, 'You Muslim ...,' this and that. After attacking her, he rolled her into the carpet and set fire to it."

Her neighbours heard her screaming and broke into the flat to put the fire out.

In a statement confirming Mr Ragab's account, a Met spokesman said: "At about 2.30pm, a woman in her 40s was seriously assaulted and robbed in her home by a man who talked his way into the house.

"After assaulting her, the suspect stole jewellery, including gold necklaces, bracelets, rings and a quantity of cash. It is alleged that he then lit a fire in the flat before leaving."

The victim was taken to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington for treatment to her injuries.

She is said to have been deeply affected by what happened to her.

Police inquiry leader DCI Alex Boon said he had never come across a case quite like this in London.

He added: "This attack left the victim traumatised and feeling unsafe in her own home."

Westminster CID is now stepping up its efforts to catch the suspect by issuing a description and e-fit of him.

He is described as a light skinned black man, aged between 30 and 35, of large build, about 6ft tall and wearing a grey jumper, blue jeans and brown shoes.

Anyone who recognises the man pictured is asked to contact detectives at Marylebone police station on 020-7321 9314 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police have also warned residents to be vigilant about bogus callers by always asking for a proof of identity and checking it carefully.

For more information on home security and bogus callers, visit www.met.police.uk/crime

prevention/bogus.htm.

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