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Mother stabbed by mugger as she walked with son says 'gang initiation' may have been behind attack

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A mother who was stabbed in the leg by a teenage boy while walking with her infant son has said she believes the attack was part of a “gang initiation”.

Nursery worker Christel Stainfield-Bruce, 36, a mother-of-three, was walking home on Friday afternoon when she was knifed in the “unprovoked” attack in Islington, north London.

Police said a male suspect aged 14 to 16 approached Mrs Stainfield-Bruce and asked for directions, as she pushed her sleeping three-year-old son in a pram.

The attacker then asked for her phone. When she refused he stabbed her in the thigh before fleeing the scene.

Christel and her husband Quinn (Supplied)

The 36-year-old victim told Sky News the attack felt “specific” and “as if that’s what he was aiming for”.

She described how she was walking home on “just a normal Friday after work” when the teenager came up behind her and said “excuse me”.

“He asked me for directions to the Emirates stadium, so I stopped to gesture in the right direction, looked at him [he was] just a young boy,” she explained.

“I didn’t necessarily feel any fear at that moment and then he said ‘give me your phone’ and I said ‘no’ and then he just reached around to the back of my left thigh and stabbed me in the back of it – so so quick.”

Mrs Stainfield-Bruce said the attack “shocked and surprised” her, but added it “didn’t feel like a robbery”.

“It felt to me like the goal was to stab me,” she said, adding that she thought it could be “gang initiation” because he didn’t try very hard “to get any financial gain”.

She was taken to a central London hospital shortly after the attack, where her injuries were treated. They are not life-threatening or changing.

No arrests have yet been made.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “The suspect is described as black male, 5ft 3in, of large build and was wearing dark coloured clothing, including a jacket and a ‘trucker’ style cap at the time of the attack.”

Anyone with information is asked to call West Area Command on 101 quoting CAD6063/07JUN, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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