21 August 2018
The man charged with double attempted murder after a mother and daughter were ‘smashed in the face’ with a hammer battled with drug addiction and had been sectioned, his family has revealed.
Joe Xuereb, 27, of New Eltham, south east London, is accused of bludgeoning Ania Gos, 30, and her mother, 64, in the street on Sunday.
He was arrested later that day two miles away from the street where he and the victims live and has since been charged.
His brother Liam, 35, yesterday told of how he had smoked cannabis ‘all his life’ and had got ‘lost in the system’ after being sectioned in 2010.
He told The Sun: ‘Joe got lost in the system. He was sectioned in 2010 and two years ago he wasn’t well again.
‘Cannabis f***** him up. He’s smoked it all his life. If he doesn’t take his tablets he’s buggered but he’s an adult so you can’t force feed him. They don’t come out and check on him regularly.’
Yesterday the first picture emerged of Ms Gos, an office worker, who also lived on Adderley Gardens, south east London – just three doors down from her attacker.
Her partner Lukasz waited at her bedside in hospital as she underwent a six-hour operation. Her mother, who was visiting her from Poland, is due to in surgery on Monday.
The Oxleas NHS Trust, responsible for providing mental health services in New Eltham, did not want to comment on Mr Xuereb’s health.
Ms Gos’s sister yesterday told the Evening Standard: ‘She is lovely. There is no reason for anyone to hurt her. My mother is in an even worse condition’.
Neighbour Robert Gover, 69, said Ania’s mother had been due to return to their native Poland after a visit when the attack took place.
S&P Global, who Ania worked for, issued a statement expressing its ‘deepest sympathies’ to her family.
They said: ‘We are extremely shocked and saddened by the senseless attack on one of our employees, Ania Gos, and her mother on Sunday afternoon.
‘Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their family and friends as Ania and her mother remain in critical condition.’
Scotland Yard confirmed they charged Xuereb in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
They had arrested him at 7.35pm on Sunday, roughly two miles from where the attack took place.
He had been spotted by a woman who then followed him in her car, until officers were able to detain him on Old Farm Avenue, Sidcup, south-east London.
A taser was ‘deployed but not used’ prior to his arrest, police said.
Officers were called at 12.10pm to find Ms Gos and her mother suffering from injuries ‘consistent with a violent assault’.
Retired TV engineer Mr Gover said Ania who ‘worked in an office in Canary Wharf’, had lived with her partner in Adderley Gardens for the last couple of years.
Mr Gover, who has lived on Adderley Gardens for 25 years, said: ‘I just spoke to Lucasz and Ania had a six hour operation yesterday. The mother is in a really serious situation and having an operation today.
‘I phoned the ambulance. I saw them covered in blood. I saw Ania laying down. I didn’t know it was her at the time.
‘I thought she was a passer-by. I did not recognise her. She has been living above me for a couple of years. They are a lovely couple. It is sheer shock.’
Mr Gover captured the shocking incident on his CCTV camera outside his home and handed police the footage yesterday.
He added: ‘Her mum was visiting her from Poland with her sister and was due to go back that day.
‘Ania’s sister has a four-year-boy. They hushed him out the way and he was ushered upstairs by the sister’s partner.’
Lucasz declined to comment. He asked if his privacy could be respected at this time and is back at the flat with Ania’s sister her husband, and their son.
Police believe a hammer recovered from the scene ‘may have been used’ to carry out the ‘horrific attack’.
A blue front door of a two storey semi-detached house on the road appeared to have been battered numerous times with a blunt object.
Detectives were seen yesterday searching the suspect’s home, which is in the same street where the attack took place.
A woman who lives nearby told how she went to the aid of the two women who had been attacked by the ‘hammer wielding’ suspect – while he was still swinging the weapon in the street.
Neighbours said he left the scene ‘calmly on a pushbike’ after leaving the women horrifically injured.
They described the victims ‘covered in blood’ while the suspect walked ‘calmly’ around, swinging his hammer.
One neighbour, who helped the victims in the aftermath of the attack said: ‘It was horrific.
‘Her face was hanging off, I was trying to put her face back together. They were definitely life-changing injuries.
‘She was hit in the face and the head, and the other woman was hit in the head. I’m worried they won’t survive.’
Another neighbour said she is ‘in complete shock’ and is scared for her safety after the attack.
She added: ‘It’s such a quiet little road, I’ve lived here for 30 years and I would never have expected this.
‘Ania was a sweet girl, I can’t believe that happened to her.’
Neighbour David Halliday, 35, said: ‘We heard a huge commotion and lots of shouting. An air ambulance landed in the school playing field.
‘I saw one of the woman being stretchered into an ambulance. Her body was completely covered up.
‘There were two or three ambulances and loads of police cars driving round.
‘They got here really quickly and there was also a police helicopter driving round overhead for a while clearly trying to find him.
‘Quite soon after about five or six police officers rammed the door down. They went in and looked around but clearly didn’t find anything. ‘
Forensic investigators were seen examining a pair of pink slippers and a blue blanket covered in blood.
She said the suspect was still in the road while she bandaged up one of the victim’s face before adding: ‘When you have two women laid out on the pavement, what do you do? ‘Anyone would do it.
‘One of the women was choking on her own blood so we sat her up.
‘She was in an out of consciousness.’
She added: ‘I feel sick, if you saw it on telly you’d turn it off.’
Another neighbour described the suspect ‘calmly’ swinging the hammer in the street while his victims lay bleeding on the ground.
She said: ‘I heard screams, it sounded like kids.
‘Then I looked out the window and saw them covered in blood. A lot of people were helping them.
‘Blood was pouring out of their heads, and he was there swinging his hammer. He was so calm.’
She added that he started hitting a brick wall before he ‘got on his pushbike and calmly cycled away from the scene’.
Mr Gover said: ‘I heard a bit of a commotion, I looked outside and there was about half a dozen people out there.
‘I went out there and I saw blood on the face of one of them and I knew something had happened so I ran inside and phoned for an ambulance.
‘One of them was moving at the time and sitting in an upright position with somebody holding her up, while the other one was laying down.
‘They were both covered in blood.’
The younger woman’s partner was at her side attempting to comfort her when the ambulance arrived, he said.
Another neighbour said: ‘It’s just awful. I don’t think they were from here. I heard they were just walking through.’
She added: ‘I heard a lot of screaming, but didn’t see what happened.’
Neighbour Joby Martin, 43, was one of around a dozen bystanders who rushed to help the victims.
He said: ‘we heard screaming and ran out.
‘The guy was just standing there with a hammer. It was chaos there was blood everywhere.
‘We could see the attacker standing there while we helped the women.
‘Me and one other man kept an eye on him while we all helped the women. You couldn’t just leave them there. Eventually got on a mountain bike and rode off.’
Det Supt Corrigan earlier said: ‘Police were called at around 12.10pm to reports of a serious assault at Adderley Gardens, Eltham.
‘Officers attended along with paramedics.
‘Two women, believed to be aged 64 and 30, were found with injuries consistent with a violent assault.
‘They have been taken to south London hospitals where they both remain in a critical condition. Their next-of-kin have been informed. No arrests have been made.
‘A crime scene is in place and enquiries continue.’