Streatham terrorist ‘tried to stab woman while knife was still in packaging’

A woman attacked by Streatham terrorist Sudesh Amman has revealed she escaped harm because he tried to stab her with a knife still in its plastic packaging.

The woman, 36, originally from the Dominican Republic, told the BBC the incident was "horrific" and "like a movie".

In an interview translated from Spanish, she said she is struggling to walk the streets again after the traumatic experience.

Amman, 20, was shot dead by police on Sunday after grabbing the knife from a shop and attacking two bystanders in Streatham High Road, south London. A third person was injured by flying glass during the gunfire.

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Police officers look under a bus as they work at the scene of Sunday's terror stabbing attack in the Streatham area of south London Monday Feb. 3, 2020. Police in London say the man identified as 20-year-old Sudesh Amman was wearing a fake bomb and stabbed two people Sunday before being shot to death by police was recently released from prison, where he was serving for terrorism offenses. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Bail hostel cordoned off in Streatham terror attack police probe
Police officers look under a bus as they work at the scene of Sunday's terror stabbing attack in the Streatham area of south London Monday Feb. 3, 2020. Police in London say the man identified as 20-year-old Sudesh Amman was wearing a fake bomb and stabbed two people Sunday before being shot to death by police was recently released from prison, where he was serving for terrorism offenses. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police officers work at the scene following a terror stabbing attack in the Streatham area of south London Monday Feb. 3, 2020. Police in London say the man identified as 20-year-old Sudesh Amman was wearing a fake bomb and stabbed two people Sunday before being shot to death by police was recently released from prison, where he was serving for terrorism offenses.(Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Police forensic officers work near a car at the scene after a stabbing incident in Streatham London, England, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. London police officers shot and killed a suspect after at least two people were stabbed Sunday in what authorities are investigating as a terror attack. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police continue to secure the scene following a terror stabbing attack in the Streatham area of south London Monday Feb. 3, 2020. Police in London say the man identified as 20-year-old Sudesh Amman was wearing a fake bomb and stabbed two people Sunday before being shot to death by police was recently released from prison, where he was serving for terrorism offenses.(Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Police officers stand guard near the scene after a stabbing incident in Streatham London, England, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. London police officers shot and killed a suspect after at least two people were stabbed Sunday in what authorities are investigating as a terror attack. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police activity at the scene following the terror attack in Streatham High Road, south London by Sudesh Amman, 20, who was shot dead by armed police following what police declared as a terrorist-related incident.
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Home Secretary Priti Patel leaves 10 Downing Street on February 3, 2020 in London, England. Mrs Patel has called for tougher measures regarding the jailing of terrorists in the wake of the terrorism incident in Streatham yesterday, Sunday. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Forensic officers examine the scene where a man was shot and killed by armed police on February 2, 2020 in London, England. The Metropolitan police have said that a number of people had been stabbed during a terrorist-related incident in Streatham. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
A bag at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police forensic officers with a bag at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 2: Armed Police stand guard near the scene of the shooting after a man was shot and killed by armed police on February 2, 2020 in London, England. The Metropolitan police have said that a number of people had been stabbed during a terrorist-related incident in Streatham. (Photo by Guy Smallman/ Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 2: Police officers near the place after a man was shot and killed by armed police on February 2, 2020 in London, England. The Metropolitan police have said that a number of people had been stabbed during a terrorist-related incident in Streatham.(Photo by Guy Smallman/ Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 2: Armed and specialist Police officers head into the cordon after a man was shot and killed by armed police on February 2, 2020 in London, England. The Metropolitan police have said that a number of people had been stabbed during a terrorist-related incident in Streatham. (Photo by Guy Smallman/ Getty Images)
A police forensic officer works at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
An armed police officer recovers medical bags at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 02: Police emergency services are seen at the site of an incident after a man has been shot dead by police in South London following stabbing several people at a street in Streatham, London, Britain on February 02, 2020. London's Metropolitan Police said incident has been declared 'terrorist-related', shot man pronounced dead. (Photo by Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Police officers guard a cordon, set up on Streatham High Road, at the junction of Woodbourne Road, in south London on February 2, 2020, after a man is shot dead by police following reports of people being stabbed in the street. - British police on Sunday said they had shot a man in south London, after at least two people were stabbed in a suspected "terrorist-related" incident. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
Armed police at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Armed police at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: A street is closed near to the scene where a man was shot and killed by armed police on February 2, 2020 in London, England. The Metropolitan police have said that a number of people had been stabbed during a terrorist-related incident in Streatham. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Police officers at the scene after a man was shot and killed by armed police on February 2, 2020 in London, England. The Metropolitan police have said that a number of people had been stabbed during a terrorist-related incident in Streatham. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
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He had been jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents in December 2018, but was freed automatically halfway through his sentence less than a fortnight ago.

It comes as Amman's father Faraz Khan said he did not realise his son had been radicalised in prison and "never thought he would go this far".

The woman, referred to as Rosa although it is not her real name, said she was in a shop in Streatham High Road when Amman pushed her and tried to knife her.

She told the BBC: "He came in and took a knife and he looked like he was leaving the shop. The owner thought he was going to stop by the cashier to pay.

Sudesh Amman
Sudesh Amman was shot dead by armed police (Met Police/PA)

"But... he pushed me, he tried to open and remove the plastic packaging from the knife, but he didn't manage.

"He pushed and he stabbed me but the knife was still covered with plastic."

Rosa described the incident as "spending 15-20 minutes in hell" and said she has not been able to sleep since.

Amman had been staying at a nearby bail hostel, while under 24-hour police surveillance.

Security services regarded him as an "extremely concerning individual", a source told the PA news agency.

It is thought that police monitoring intensified in the days before the attack as his behaviour grew more concerning.

While in Belmarsh high-security prison, Amman reportedly told a fellow inmate that he wanted to murder an MP and copy the killing of Jo Cox, according to the Times.

Mr Khan, who left the UK for Sri Lanka three months ago, told Sky News: "I spoke to Sudesh one day before he passed away. I didn't know he had become radicalised.

"He was reciting the Koran to me and he was translating that to me.

"He's never spoken to me about these kind of things. He would never talk to me about naughty things.

"I heard they found a lot of things and I saw them on the news, but I never thought he would go this far."

How the Streatham terror attack unfolded
(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, one of Amman's victims has been named in reports as teacher Monika Luftner.

In a statement, St Bede's Catholic Infant & Nursery School in Lambeth said a member of staff was making a "good recovery after experiencing a shocking attack".

The Government is now pressing ahead with plans for emergency laws to keep terrorists behind bars for longer, by ending automatic release halfway through a sentence.

There are 224 terrorists in prison in Great Britain, with most thought to be holding Islamist-extremist views, according to the latest published figures to the end of September.

As many as 50 terrorists could be freed from jail this year, figures suggest.

On Monday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said emergency legislation was needed to make sure offenders serve two-thirds of their sentence before they are considered eligible for release, at which point their case would be considered by a panel of specialist judges and psychiatrists at the Parole Board.

Streatham terror attack
Police officers outside a property on Leigham Court Road, Streatham (Yui Mok/PA)

The new law is expected to be passed by the time Parliament goes into recess on February 13, despite warnings that this could prompt legal challenges from those already serving sentences set under previous rules.

Senior Cabinet minister and former justice secretary Michael Gove told Sky News that terrorists should be imprisoned indefinitely "if necessary".

However, Downing Street acknowledged that there was nothing to prevent prisoners being automatically released until the emergency law is passed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman would not say if any terrorists were due for release before the new law comes in.

The Government did not rule out derogating – effectively suspending – the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in order to apply the new measures.

About 50 terrorists are released from prison each year, according to officials, and the figure is expected to be similar in 2020 unless rules change.

Home Office data shows 41 convicted terrorists were released from jail in the year to June, as well as 12 suspects who had been held in custody but not sentenced.

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