Detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of a mother of two have called on the public for help finding her suspected killer who fled the scene.
Shadika Mohsin Patel, 40, died in hospital from blood loss after being stabbed multiple times in a random attack in Altmore Avenue, East Ham, in east London at around 12.45am on Thursday.
Scotland Yard have released a CCTV image of the man they believe is responsible for her death and have appealed for help identifying him.
Speaking at the scene of the attack on Monday, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Wrigley urged people to pass on information to police, even if they are staying indoors due to the coronavirus outbreak.
He said patrols had been stepped up in the local area and officers are conducting door-to-door inquiries.
“We still ask that people answer the door and follow the guidance to maintain some distance away, but we do need people to engage with us,” he said.
DCI Wrigley said if people prefer, they can also call police to arrange passing on information in a “sanitised way”.
He said so far police have been unable to establish a motive for the killing of Ms Patel, who is not known to have been involved in crime and “posed no threat to anybody”.
It is understood it was not unusual for Ms Patel, who lived alone, to be out shopping late at night, with her being in the area for a number of hours before the attack.
“The evidence so far suggests this was a random attack, that the victim and suspect were not known to each other,” he said.
“The impact on the family is obviously huge shock and devastation.”
DCI Wrigley added: “They are struggling to understand what’s gone on.”
Using CCTV footage, police have been able to establish that the suspect approached Ms Patel as he walked from the post office on the corner of Altmore Avenue and Barking Road.
He engaged Ms Patel in conversation by the access ramp of a building opposite the post office, with the attack taking place after she walked away.
The suspect then ran across Barking Road and down Didsbury Close, leading to Melbourne Road.
“I believe that someone locally will know who that man is,” DCI Wrigley said.
He said police particularly wanted to speak to passers-by and drivers who were in the area at the time of the attack.
Members of the public are warned to be “cautious” and not to approach the man, but to call 999 immediately if he is seen.
Anyone with information on his identity and whereabouts is also asked to contact police.
Detective Inspector John Marriott, from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command, previously said: “It is vitally important that we identify the man in the image as soon as possible.”
He added: “My colleagues and I are working tirelessly to identify and apprehend the person responsible for this despicable killing, and the support and assistance of the local community is invaluable to us.”
A 31-year-old man arrested on Saturday on suspicion of murder has been released on bail, police said.
A 30-year-old man arrested in east London on Friday on suspicion of murder has been released under investigation.
People with information can call the police incident room on 020 8345 3715 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.