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Update: Woman found beheaded in broad daylight London garden attack

15:39 04 September 2014

Police in Nightingale Road, Edmonton, north London, where a woman was beheaded in a back garden just after 1pm. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Police in Nightingale Road, Edmonton, north London, where a woman was beheaded in a back garden just after 1pm. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A woman has been beheaded in broad daylight in a suburban back garden.

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A major police operation was sparked in a busy street by the discovery of her body outside a house in Edmonton, north London, early this afternoon.

A 25-year-old man was Tasered and arrested on suspicion of murder at the scene by armed officers, some of whom were injured in a struggle, and is tonight under guard in hospital.

Scotland Yard revealed this evening that its officers had distracted the man after he was seen going through back gardens in Nightingale Road to prevent him from attacking anyone else while they evacuated people from nearby homes.

Neighbours described the terrifying scene as events unfolded.

Restaurant worker Freda Odame, 30, said she was about to go to sleep after working a night shift when she heard a commotion at around 1pm.

She said: “I heard shouting and banging and I opened my curtains and saw a guy holding a knife in a back garden a few doors along.

“He was screaming, I couldn’t make out the words. I could see he seemed aggressive. He looked a bit frantic.”

She said the man, who was dressed all in black, was waving a weapon around towards the floor.

“It was like he was looking for something on the floor,” she said.

“I was shaking and I just shut the curtains. I was worried he might see me.

“Then the police knocked on the door and said ‘you’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out’.”

Local resident Muhammed Yusuf described the moment police knocked on his door.

“They just said ‘You’ve got to get out of the house’. Of course I was worried,” he said.

His son Ahmed, 19, added: “At first there were two police cars, then all of a sudden there were 20.

“The police said to drop everything. I said ‘What’s going on?’ and they said there’s a guy jumping over gardens.”

Tonight local residents were still waiting to be allowed back in their homes and the road remained cordoned off as forensics officers continued their work.

Scotland Yard said that the incident is not believed to be terror-related, and its homicide and major crime command is leading the investigation.

Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford said the dead woman’s next of kin had been told and were being helped by specially trained police officers.

He would not comment on her injuries.

He said: “What we do know is that this male has gone along a number of the back gardens of this premises.

“Officers who attended the scene have evacuated a number of those people from those premises to make them safe.

“During that period they distracted the man from carrying out any further attacks.”

He added that officers had smashed house windows to get people out after the man had been “cornered” in a house. One suffered what is thought to be a broken wrist as the man was arrested.

He continued: “They (the officers) did everything they could to evacuate people from those premises and that clearly they were aware of what had happened and they put themselves in extreme danger to protect the public, to ensure that his behaviour was stopped as soon as it possibly could be.”

Cmdr Letchford confirmed that police were called to the scene by initial reports of a man attacking an animal, a cat or a dog, at 1.07pm.

A weapon was recovered at the scene but he did not reveal what it was.

The arrested man is currently being treated for minor injuries suffered when he was arrested, he said, and police will then determine when he can be interviewed.

Cmdr Letchford said they were still trying to establish the attacker’s motive.

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