Knife attack on nursery worker treated as hate crime

Updated: 

A knife attack on a nursery worker by three women who were shouting "Allah" is being treated as a hate crime, police said.

The white woman, who is in her 30s, was set upon by a group dressed entirely in black as she walked to work on Wednesday, according to a colleague. 

"She had three Asian girls behind her chanting the Koran, 'Allah'," said Karrien Stevens, the operations manager of Little Diamonds nursery in Wanstead, east London. 

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police made a public appeal as they sought suspects for the attack.

"As a result of comments made during the attack, police are treating this as a hate crime," they said in a statement. 

Police were called to the scene on the corner of Wanstead High Street and Hermon Hill at 9.36am on Wednesday.

They said the victim had been kicked and had a cut to the hand caused by the blade.

No arrests have been made, Scotland Yard said. 

Ms Stevens said her colleague had just left Wanstead station when she was set upon less than 10 minutes' walk from the nursery.

She said the victim did not know her attackers, who fled when a passer-by intervened.

Her ordeal lasted 10 minutes, according to the nursery worker.

"There is no reason for it whatsoever," her colleague added.

"She is shaken up, she's emotionally a bit of a wreck, they did scare her, but she is OK, she is a strong staff member."

Speaking of the victim's injuries, she added:"Her stomach was hurting, she had marks all over her, her hair was pulled out."

A Met spokesman said she was taken to an east London hospital as a precaution with a slash wound, but was later discharged.

It came as figures released in the wake of the London Bridge attack showed a spike in hate crimes blighting the capital, resulting in 25 arrests since Saturday.