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Thousands of people have signed a petition branding a driver who mowed down a knife attacker "a hero" and calling for him not to face criminal charges.

The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder after ploughing into Leon McCaskre, 41, as he stabbed his ex-partner Yasmin Chkaifi to death in the street in front of horrified witnesses.

A number of people had desperately tried to stop McCaskre before the driver hit him with his blue Renault in Maida Vale west London on Monday morning.

Relatives of Ms Chkaifi, who had two sons, have also praised the driver for attempting to stop the fatal attack.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder and has since been released on bail until late February while the police investigation continues.

On Wednesday nearly 5,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org entitled : "Maida Vale driver is a hero and shouldn't be charged with murder".

he was driving to work and saw a woman being attacked.

Forensic officers carry out investigations after a woman and man died in Maida Vale, West London

A man who claimed to have seen the attack in Maida Vale said : 'The driver said to me 'what have I done ? '.

'He's devastated by what happened because he wanted to save this woman's life.

i want to say thank him for what he did.

ms chakaifi's son and other relatives revealed that her ex was supposed to appear in court last week for breaching a stalking order but failed to show.

Detectives investigate after the double death happened in Maida Vale, West London

"he was a monster."

A warrant is believed to have been issued for the arrest of McCaskre three weeks after he failed to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on a charge relating to Ms Chkaifi.

McCaskre had an anti-stalking order against him from the Met Police with Ms Chkaifi, a mature student of Moroccan descent, securing a restraining order and even installing a panic alarm in her flat because she was so frightened of her ex-husband, one of her sons has claimed.

Responding to the allegation, the Met Police said :' A Stalking Prevention Order had been obtained against the deceased man, as a matter of course there will be a review by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards NPTD further. '

He said : "It was a very abusive relationship which got worse after the divorce.

My mother was continually being harassed and intimidated by this man.

He made her life hell,' the son told MailOnline.

"i was always in touch with the police but they did nothing to help her.

Scotland Yard issued this picture of Yasmine Chkaifi today

there was even a panic alarm installed in our flat – that's how scared she was of this man.

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 ”.

she said : 'she had a heart of gold, was beautiful and had friends from all cultures.

It's devastated us all. '

Yasmine Wafah Chkaifi's family members have alleged that Maida Vale knifeman Leon McCaskre was the mother-of-two's ex-husband and had 'harassed and intimidated' her after their divorce

who knew this was going to happen?

she added : "but he bullied her, she couldn't speak to anybody.

I opened the door and saw a girl in the street on the floor and a guy with a knife. '

The driver was the only one who could do anything. '

A car is taken away from the scene of a double killing at Chippenham Road in Maida Vale, north-west London last night

Witnesses said they heard shouts of "stop it, stop it" and described "a girl being attacked by a gentleman".

Police said the families of the man and woman who died have been informed and that post-mortem examinations will be arranged in due course.

In a statement, the force said : 'Enquiries are under way to establish the full circumstances, but at this early stage it is believed the two deceased were known to each other. '

'We also dispatched by road London's Air Ambulance.

Forensic officers stand near a blue Renault as they carry out investigations in Maida Vale, West London

An IOPC spokesperson said : "We can confirm that we have received a referral from the Metropolitan Police regarding their contact with Yasmin Chkaifi prior to her tragic death in Maida Vale, London, on 24 January.

McCaskre, who police said had stabbed Ms Chkaifi on Chippenham Road, was hit by a car driven by a 26-year-old man.

the police were called after some of the fights, the neighbour said.

She was just a lovely person."

People believed to be family weeping today as they lay flowers at the scene of a horrific double killing in Maida Vale

i think he will kill me.

Chkaifi's family, who are originally from Morocco, lived locally and are reported to be devastated.

One resident said he was woken up to the sounds of children screaming.

An arrest warrant had been issued at the start of January for a man killed when he was hit by the driver of a car who was apparently trying to stop him stabbing his ex-wife.

Ms Chkaifi told a friend two years ago she thought she would die at her ex-husband's hands, it has emerged.

McCaskre was also barred from making contact by phone, email, text or social media.

Det Ch Insp Rawlinson said "very courageous" bystanders had "bravely tried to intervene" and his team was getting a clearer idea of events from witnesses, the families and CCTV.

Ms Chkaifi, who was a qualified childminder, had worked in a school and was studying for a master's degree.

Metropolitan Police officers on the scene following the double death in Maida Vale, West London

Ms Richards, who described how she supported her after her mother died, said : "She was a good soul.

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