A woman who was stabbed to death in Maida Vale, London, on Monday has been named as Yasmin Chkaifi, and according to a neighbour suffered years of abuse at the hands of her killer.
Chkaifi, 43, also known as Wafah, was attacked in the street by Leon McCaskre, 41, before he died after being hit by a blue Renault Clio. The 26-year-old driver was arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder and later bailed pending further investigation.
Chkaifi, nicknamed Yaz, who had two sons aged 16 and 18, was described by one neighbour as “really kind person” and another as a “very beautiful lady”. One neighbour said Chkaifi and McCaskre were estranged lovers, and the pair shared a second-floor flat in which they could hear McCaskre hitting Chkaifi.
Speaking to the Guardian, the neighbour said: “He used to beat her up when he was here. These flats were only built about 12 years ago, so they are very well insulated and sound proofed. But I would hear clumps and thumps and hear her screaming and him shouting. I would knock on the door, and there wouldn’t be an answer, but then it would stop because he knew someone had heard. It was at all times of the day and night.”
The police were called after some of the fights, the neighbour said. “I don’t know how many times they came,” she said.
The neighbour said: “I saw her recently and we had a chat about various things and she seemed to be on the up, and back to her normal happy self. She was a lovely person: really, really kind. And always doing things to her home and making it nice and lovely plants and flowers on her balcony. I think she child-minded for a while.”
She added: “But he bullied her, she couldn’t speak to anybody. She had friends, but he just controlled her whole life as far as I could see. And she never looked happy, she was much better when he left and we used to chat. Who knew this was going to happen? She was finally getting back to herself again. And now she’s never going to know her grandchildren, it’s a horrible thing.”
Speaking of Chkaifi’s sons, she added: “I feel so bad for the boys.”
Chkaifi’s family, who are originally from Morocco, lived locally and are reported to be devastated.
Speaking to London’s Evening Standard, her aunt, Haida, said: “She had a heart of gold, was beautiful and had friends from all cultures. Her mother is in hospital. She was taken in after she was given the news. We are struggling to cope.”
The attack happened outside St Peter’s primary school just before 9am. One resident said he was woken up to the sounds of children screaming.