This is the terrifying moment a machete-wielding madman was rampaging through a British street after having decapitated a grandmother.
The footage shows police helpless to catch Nicholas Salvador as he smashes his way through back gardens in a London road.
It reveals how children in the killer’s path continued playing as police chiefs, fearing a bloodbath, desperately scrambled to capture him.
Salvador, who minutes earlier had decapitated Palmira Silva, 82, in her own back garden, was today cleared of murder on the grounds of insanity. The 25-year-old was sentenced to a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite time limit, under the Mental Health Act.
Doug Skinner, the Metropolitan Police officer first to arrive at the scene on September 4 last year, said: “I knew that Salvador was armed, had already killed and that many people were in immediate danger. Nothing can fully prepare you for that type of call or the scene we encountered.
“I immediately requested an unmarked car to move in close and track his movements. We decided we would have to remove residents before Salvador killed someone else.
“The helicopter constantly tracked Salvador jumping fences and they’d also spotted children playing in nearby gardens. We genuinely thought he would kill those children and we were filled with utter terror.
“We pulled up outside of an address close to the victim’s and smashed through the double glazed windows calling out to residents.
“I then saw Salvador, stripped to the waist and standing in someone’s front room, armed with a blood-stained machete. I engaged him in conversation as he made stabbing motions towards me.
“I knew I had to buy enough time for the rest of the team to get residents, especially those kids, out of the area. Officers smashed through windows to pull them all to safety before Salvador could be contained in another house.”
Police said Salvador – who has since been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia – had been staying with friends in the area, who had noticed him behaving unusually on the morning of September 4.
They found him in their garden with bloodstained hands, standing over a decapitated cat. They fled into the street with Salvador in pursuit. He managed to smash two of their car’s windows before, after two stalls, they managed to flee.
Police, including a force helicopter, arrived on scene, capturing the moment Salvador murdered Silva in her back garden with a 24-inch blade.
Salvador fled to a neighbouring property, where police sought to keep him distracted while they evacuated nearby residents.
The madman was later shot with a stun gun and arrested. Two officers were seriously injured, one with a large bite to his lower leg and the other with a broken wrist.
Commander Simon Letchford, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “This was a horrendous and vicious attack which robbed a family of a much-loved vibrant mother and grandmother.
“On behalf of the Met I would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Palmira Silva.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the officers who dealt with the incident and faced a truly shocking scene.
“I managed to personally speak to those who initially responded and faced a fast-moving and difficult situation. The officers did everything they could to keep people safe and clear the area. They undoubtedly put their own lives on the line to ensure there was no further loss of life that day.
“I have nothing but praise and admiration for them and we should all be grateful that we have officers who will risk their own lives to keep others safe.”
IMAGE: Salvador, left, and his victim, Palmira Silva, 82, right.
By Chris Harris