A murder investigation is under way after a shop worker was stabbed to death during a robbery at a newsagent’s in north-west London, police said.
The 54-year-old man is believed to have been attacked as he opened Marsh Food and Wine in Pinner on Sunday morning.
Scotland Yard said the shop’s till was stolen and may have been discarded by the suspect, while detectives are appealing for witnesses who saw a black Vauxhall Astra driven away at speed immediately after the stabbing.
Officers were called to the scene in Marsh Road at around 6am but the victim was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later.
The Metropolitan Police said his family have been informed.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Stancombe said: “I am appealing to anyone who was in the area around Marsh Lane this morning and saw anything of interest to contact police.
“This was a violent robbery that has escalated, resulting in the murder of a man.
“It appears the till was stolen from the shop during this robbery and this may have been discarded by the suspect. If you have come across this, we want to hear from you.
“I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw a black Vauxhall Astra that was driven away at speed south down Cecil Park immediately after the attack.
“We think that car was parked in Cecil Park prior to the murder – if you saw this, or have any other information that could help us progress this investigation, I would urge you to get in contact.”
A large section of Marsh Road has been cordoned off and a police forensics tent erected outside Marsh Food and Wine and a Costa Coffee outlet.
Local business owner Peter Brook, 55, who lives nearby, said: “When someone actually violates your community, people will be shocked.
“I know the other traders I’ve spoken to are thinking ‘there but for the grace of God go the rest of us’.”
He said there were a few employees from the newsagent’s who delivered the morning papers to local businesses, all of whom he said are “kind, polite and so committed to working in the local community”.
Mr Brook, who has lived in Pinner for nearly two decades, added: “People sometimes don’t appreciate the people who come out at 5am to deliver a service to the local community. When people like that are murdered going about their job it’s such a tragedy.”
Local councillor Norman Stevenson, who is also chairman of Pinner Business Club, described the area as a “typical nice leafy suburb”.
He said he had spoken to employees of other newsagents since the attack and said their reaction is “shock, of course, and it’s disbelief that this could happen in Pinner”.
Mr Stevenson added: “They’re always there at 5 or 6 o’ clock in the morning when very few people are around so I suppose, with hindsight thinking about that, there is a certain vulnerability about that but I don’t think people live in fear, they get on with their lives.”
One resident described Pinner as “lovely”, but said she was not shocked by the news as such incidents are “happening in all areas”.
Mary MacNamara, who has lived in the area for four years, said: “We all see what’s going on generally and it (such crime) seems to be happening in all areas.
“It’s happening every day. Nobody does anything about it.”
She said the Government is too focused on Brexit and should be looking more closely at the causes of violent crime.
She said: “The Government are doing nothing about it. All they do is fight about Brexit.
“They should be looking at the causes. They continue to spend all their time on it (Brexit). It’s very infuriating to the people in this country.”
Local MP Nick Hurd said police are making house-to-house inquiries.
He tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear of a fatal stabbing in Marsh Road #Pinner earlier this morning . Area cordoned off; police conducting house to house enquiries and reassurance patrols.”
Police are asking anyone with information to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.