As they were checking the tickets of passengers alighting from a bendy bus, they apparently stumbled across John Paul Onyenaychi, who was wanted for recall to prison. He'd been convicted for causing death by dangerous driving, and had breached his parole conditions after being released early.
Although he was initially stopped so the police officers could check that he'd paid his fare (which, of course, he had not), one of the officers recognised him and initiated a radio check, which confirmed that Onyenaychi was a wanted man.
He decided that he didn't want to return to prison, however, and pulled out a stanley knife:
Christmas shoppers screamed in horror as the knifeman slashed the throat of one officer before attacking a police community support officer – plunging a knife into his arms and hands as he went to the aid of his colleague.He attempted to stab a second community support officer before he was subdued.
The constable who had his throat slashed is apparently stable after surgery, but his life was only saved because a surgeon was travelling on a passing bus and managed to keep him alive until he got to hospital.
Today Onyenaychi has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, and attempting to commit grievous bodily harm against the second PCSO.
What interested me most was the reaction of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London:
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he was shocked by what had happened, adding: ‘There is no place for this in London.’But unfortunately there is, isn't there Boris?
The reason such large groups of police officers were active like this in the first place is because the area has seen a surge in gang activity; gangs robbing people on buses, in the streets, using casual violence.
Casual violence against members of the public will eventually translate into casual violence against the police - particularly if the consequences are seen as negligible.
This Onyenaychi individual has already got away with killing one person, so why would he think twice about killing more?
Anyone capable of doing something like this belongs behind bars, preferrably for good. How many other such people are still roaming the streets? The Daily Mail article gives us some clue:
If the authorities don't take sanctions against criminals seriously, why should the criminals?
Ministry of Justice figures show 914 criminals are on the run even though they have committed new crimes or breached the terms of their release. The total includes 22 recalled between 1984 and 1999. Those wrongly on the streets include 18 murderers, five paedophiles and 17 convicted of carrying guns.
Police should find 75 per cent of recalled prisoners classified as high risk ‘emergency’ cases within 74 hours and three quarters of standard recalls should be completed within six days.
But since 2007 nearly 10,000 criminals were not back in jail within the target time.
Onyenaychi continued to show his contempt for the justice system whilst in court:
A man charged with attempting to murder two police officers has been remanded in custody after swearing at the judge.
District Judge Margot Coleman ordered John Paul Onyenaychi, 30, of Wise Road in east London, back to the cells after his outburst.
The injured officers have been named as PC Paul Madden, 23, and PCSO Piotr Dolata, 27.
The Daily Mail has more on what Onyenaychi got up to in court today. Whilst in the dock, surrounded by ten police officers, he treated the court to the following:
Shouting at District Judge Margot Coleman when asked for his full name, he said: 'My name’s ‘go **** yourself’ and where the **** is my solicitor?'
When his solicitor Aneurin Brewer appeared in court, he continued: 'You’re not my ******* solicitor. You’re not representing me.'
The hearing continued in Onyenaychi's absence after District Judge Coleman ordered he be taken back to the cell, before telling Mr Brewer, 'He was being extremely abusive and I’m not prepared to tolerate that behaviour in my courtroom.'