A video has emerged on social media, which appears to show a man wielding an axe rushing at customers and staff at a South London supermarket. The clip, which was taken from a CCTV camera, appears to show a crowd of people milling about in the entrance to a Tesco branch in Purley in the Borough of Croydon, before the attacker (a masked man wearing a green parka) appears from the top left corner of the screen and rushes at staff and shoppers alike while swinging what appears to be a hatchet.
Nobody was believed to be hurt during the fracas, which occurred at around 9pm on Wednesday, January 23. So far, the masked culprit has not been identified. Police arrived on the scene at approximately 10.17pm, but no arrests were made. One person tweeted at the time: "Reports that guy turned up with axe smashing stuff up. [On lock] down while they search for him."
Commenting on the incident, a spokesperson representing the London Metropolitan police stated: "Police were called on Tuesday, January 22 at 10.14pm to a supermarket in Purley Way ... Officers attended and were informed the man had caused damage to the store. The suspect left prior to police arrival. A search of the area took place but he was not found. Enquiries are ongoing to trace him."
The police spokesperson also claimed that some witnesses identified the weapon in question as a hammer, not an axe. Another spokesperson from Tesco later stated: "We are relieved to confirm that nobody was hurt in this shocking incident at our Purley Extra store. We are supporting the police with their enquiries."
The footage emerged just a few days after a woman who attacked innocent bystanders with an axe at a 7-Eleven in Australia was charged with attempted murder. The video, which has subsequently reappeared on social media, (which was filmed from a CCTV camera in January 2017) shows 25-year-old Evie Amati battering customers Ben Rimmer and Sharon Hacker with a two-kilo fire axe, before fleeing the scene.
Amati, who had reportedly been experiencing mental health deterioration following a 2015 breakup, and who had been intoxicated through MDA, hormones, alcohol and cannabis at the time of the brutal assault, was jailed for up to nine years. Speaking at her sentencing, Judge Mark Williams described the attack as "a very serious and confronting episode. The risk of death was high in each case, and the fact that death did not occur was entirely a matter of good fortune."
Only time will tell whether or not the culprit in the Purley axe incident will ever been identified and charged. If you or anyone else you know has any information about this case, please visit the official site of South Croydon police and issue a report.