Terrorism ruled out in London car crash

LONDON • A man arrested after a car collided with pedestrians in London - triggering fears of a terror attack - has been released under investigation while inquiries continue.

The 47-year-old was arrested at the scene near London's Natural History Museum last Saturday on suspicion of dangerous driving after his vehicle mounted the pavement and collided with pedestrians, injuring 11.

He was treated in hospital before being taken to a police station, said the Metropolitan Police yesterday.

They doused concerns that the incident, which happened in one of the British capital's busiest tourist areas, was a terrorist attack.

"This morning, he was released under investigation while inquiries continue," the police said.

"Because of where this collision occurred and the number of pedestrians involved, I fully appreciate the concern and alarm this incident caused," Detective Constable Darren Case from the Roads and Transport Policing Command said yesterday.

"Inquiries have established that this incident is not terrorist-related... Thankfully, there are no serious injuries, with the majority now discharged from hospital."

People released under investigation are not required to report again at a police station but can be contacted, and in some cases arrested again, after police inquiries.

Britain is on its second-highest security alert level, meaning that an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

The country has suffered five attacks blamed on terrorism so far this year, three of which involved vehicles.

Footage from the scene showed a man being pinned to the ground near a crashed black Toyota car.

Mr Oliver Cheshire, a model who is the fiance of British pop singer Pixie Lott, told the Daily Mail newspaper that he was one of those who helped to detain the man.

He said three female passengers in the car told him that it was a private-hire taxi.

"He (the man) was driving down the pavement and hit 11 to 12 people. Then the guy was screaming," said Mr Cheshire.

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter: "My thanks to the first responders at this incident... and the actions of members of the public. My thoughts are with the injured."

In March, a man drove a car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge, killing four, before he stabbed a police officer to death in the grounds of Parliament building.

In June, three Muslim militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge before they stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight.

In the same month, a van was driven into worshippers near a mosque in north London, leaving one man dead.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2017, with the headline 'Terrorism ruled out in London car crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe