A man who carried out three unprovoked knife attacks in six days, killing one man and injuring two others, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Amine Laouar, 21 (15.09.00), of Oxford Place, NW10 was convicted of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 26 July.

He appeared at the same court on Thursday, 28 July where he was handed a life sentence to serve a minimum term of 38 years for murder, attempted murder and GBH.

A murder investigation was launched after 48-year-old Leon Street was found with stab wounds shortly after 21: 30hrs on 11 January 2021.

Leon had been to the shop and was walking home along Neasden Lane North when Laouar approached from behind and stabbed him five times. The attack, which was completely unprovoked, happened near to the junction with Press Road.

Leon managed to get back to his home nearby before collapsing on his doorstop in front of his partner who called an ambulance. Despite the efforts of the emergency services who responded, he died at the scene.

It later emerged that on the same evening another person, a 32-year-old man, had been approached from behind and stabbed on Neasden Lane North.

He was fortunate to survive his injuries and was later released from hospital.

Because of the similarities between the two stabbings, the investigations were linked and detectives began urgent enquiries to track down the person responsible.

They reviewed CCTV from the area and spoke to a number of eyewitnesses about what they had seen. Two knives were also recovered and sent for DNA analysis.

A DNA profile was found on the knives but it didn’t match any records on the police database.

DNA from both of the victims was also found on the knives.

Officers began a large operation to voluntarily take DNA from people living in the area to compare to the profile found on the knives. They remained in the area over the coming days as the scenes were forensically examined and nearby homes were visited.

Six days later, at around 09: 40hrs on 17 January 2021, the attacker struck again, approaching a 47-year-old man from behind and stabbing him several times as he walked along Neasden Lane North. The man was taken to hospital with multiple stab wounds. Doctors said he was lucky to survive.

From CCTV recovered following the third attack, Laouar was identified as a suspect. He was arrested in the early hours of 19 January 2021 and taken into police custody to be questioned.

He denied any involvement in the attacks.

Specially trained officers carried out a search of his home where, in a wardrobe, they found the knife used in the third attack. They also found a jacket with Leon Street’s blood on it.

A DNA sample taken while Laouar was in custody matched the profile found on the two knives used in the attacks on 11 January. The overwhelming DNA evidence, along with CCTV and witness testimony, was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service and Laouar was charged with the three stabbings and later convicted as above.

In a statement read to the court during sentencing, Leon’s fiancé Natasha Anodin, said: “I met Leon 15 years ago. We were the best of friends and quickly became inseparable soulmates. He was a doting father and a loving brother and son.

“After so many years together, we got engaged on Christmas Day in 2019 and planned to get married in July 2022, but instead of being at our wedding, I have had to sit through his murder trial.

“The harrowing images of that night are burnt into my mind and I am haunted by them every day. I have not been able to return to the job I loved and I am still receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder because of the constant flashbacks.

“I have so many unanswered questions that I realise I will never get answers to, although I know these answers will not bring Leon back.

“They say time heals, but I feel the heavy burden of grief will always remain.”

Leon’s daughter, Rian Anderson, added: “My dad was always there for me and my brother throughout our childhood. I remember him teaching my brother to ride motorbikes and when he bought me a huge trampoline to help with my gymnastics.

“I also remember the times he would pick us up from school in his van playing loud Abba music to embarrass us. I will cherish those moments forever.

“This has altered our lives in so many ways. The pain of losing him will never be mended and I will continue to miss him every single day.”

Detective Inspector Tom Williams, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Laouar carried out a series of terrifying and totally random attacks on three innocent men who he had never met.

“Any knife attack is utterly unacceptable, but the way Laouar targeted his victims in such a frenzied way with no provocation whatsoever has shocked everyone who worked on this case.

“Our thoughts are with Leon’s family today. He was a much-loved man just going to the local shop when his life was cruelly taken.

“I would also like to recognise the two other men who were attacked by Laouar but survived. They showed tremendous bravery and resilience in supporting our investigation while dealing with the trauma of what had happened to them.

“We must also not forget the impact that this series of attacks had on local people in Neasden. They gave great support to our investigation and we thank them for that.

“The evidence against Laouar was strong. We were able to link him to the attacks through multiple DNA matches and CCTV. Despite this, he continued to deny being involved and in doing so, he put all those who have suffered as a result of his actions through even more stress and anguish.

“Even today, at the last opportunity to show any remorse, he did not.

“The lengthy sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of his crimes. I hope it brings a small degree of comfort to all those whose lives he has impacted.”

+ The presiding judge praised the investigating officers for their hard work, acknowledging the investigative work that took place ‘behind the scenes’. He described the identification and subsequent arrest of Laouar in nine days as a significant success.