05 September 2023

‘Topless man covered in blood’ flees robbery scene in London's Oxford Street

05 September 2023

A shirtless man slashed himself with a knife in dramatic scenes following a violent street robbery in London’s West End, according to a BBC radio reporter who was live on air at the time.

The victim was targeted outside the Royal Gifts Gallery in Oxford Street on Tuesday, with shop staff coming to his aid as thieves tried to steal his watch and phone, catching one of the robbers.

BBC reporter Anna O’Neill said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that one of the thieves began slashing himself with a large knife until his accomplice was released.

She wrote: “While I was live on air, a violent street robbery happened outside one of the gift shops! Poor Phil, visiting the UK on business, was attacked for his watch.

“He was wrestled to the group (sic) by two men who tried to take his watch and phone.

“The men in the gift shop came out and pulled the robbers off Phil. They managed to apprehend one of the men who was wearing a grey suit.

“But his partner came back with a large knife and started slashing himself until they let his partner go … which they did.

“We’ve heard police cars, vans and an ambulance heading towards Marble Arch.

“The second man was naked from the waist up and covered in blood, holding a large knife.”

She was speaking to Eddie Nestor on BBC Radio London as the drama unfolded.

The victim, named only as Phil, later spoke to the broadcaster.

He said: “They tackled me and they were trying to get my watch off me and get my phone.

“And I was able to hold on to the small guy who was trying to take my watch and I wouldn’t let him go.

“These guys were around him and pulling them off, and then he got up and he ran without getting my watch.

“And they retained the other fellow but the other guy came back, the small fellow who tackled me, and he was starting to cut himself with a knife.”

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