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Hainault survivor: “I thought we were going to die”

By Lucy Manning
Special Correspondent, BBC News

A man who was injured when an attacker burst into his Hainault home has told the BBC it is a “miracle” he and his family were not killed.

Henry De Los Rios Polania, his wife and four-year-old daughter were sleeping when a man brandishing a sword broke into their home on 30 April.

The 35-year-old suffered serious hand injuries as he fought off the intruder.

Four other people were attacked in the area, including Daniel Anjorin, 14, who died of his injuries.

Mr Los Rios Polania said he and his wife had fallen asleep watching TV on an “ordinary” night and opened their eyes the following morning to find a man with a sword standing in front of them.

He said: “I thought I was going to die… even my wife and child. We thought we were going to die that morning.”

In his first interview since the attack, he said: “I believe a miracle happened in that room.”

He recounted the moment he looked around for something to protect himself from the sword with, only to find “pillows and teddy bears”.

Mr Los Rios Polania made it clear he could not go into further detail about what happened in the bedroom, because he did not want to jeopardise the police investigation.

His wife and child were not injured, but he fears his daughter will suffer from the trauma she experienced and could suffer flashbacks in the future. “I just hope she doesn’t remember anything,” he said.

Mr Los Rios Polania was released from hospital on Wednesday but will need to return for further surgeries due to the severity of his injuries.

He underwent almost 10 hours of surgery to reconstruct tendon and veins, as surgeons battled to save his hand.

On the day he spoke to the BBC, doctors had given him the news a finger they feared might be lost would recover.

Mr Los Rios Polania’s sister said last week that she believed he was a hero for protecting his family. He became tearful as he accepted there was truth in this.

“I protected my family… I will do everything for my family,” he said.

The 35-year-old thanked paramedics, police and doctors who “came forward” to help, and said they had all done a “great job”. He added that he wanted to “thank God for keeping me alive”.

Among others injured on the same morning was Daniel Anjorin, 14. He was attacked a short distance from his home and later died of his injuries.

Daniel Anjorin died of his injuries

Mr Los Rios Polania told the BBC: “I feel so sorry for his family… When I got close to the ambulance, I saw him on the floor… It shouldn’t have happened.”

Three other people – including two police officers – were also seriously injured.

A man has been charged with murder and is due to go on trial in February.

It has been little more than a week since the Hainault attack and Mr Los Rios Polania told the BBC he was still coming to terms with the “nightmare”.

He has not yet returned to his home, and fears he and his family will never be able to face going back and will need to look for somewhere else to live.

“The local community, they’ve been supportive but we just need to find a way out, try to start over again,” he said.

“We need to continue with our lives. All I know is that the next house I’m going to get into, I’ll just make it really safe. I don’t want anyone to come from the outside. “

On Saturday, Daniel’s parents issued a statement paying tribute to their “loved and amazing son”.

They said: “We as a family are devastated by the loss of our beloved son Daniel. It is difficult for us at this time to process what has happened to him and that he will never come home. Daniel had left the house for school and then he was gone.

“Our children have lost their loving and precious brother and we have lost the most loved and amazing son.”