“What has struck me about this case: had there not been such a thorough and prompt police investigation, particularly regarding the work done in relation to the CCTV, the defendant would most likely still be at large – as his victims were unable to identify their attacker. In all likelihood the thoroughness of the police work on the CCTV is likely the basis upon which the jury have convicted.”
The victims all required hospital treatment before later being discharged.
Police had received a report at around 5.30pm on Saturday 18 January this year that a 10-year-old boy had been stabbed in Belper Street, Leicester. The boy, who had been in the street, saving a parking space for his mum, described being grabbed by a man who then attacked him before running off. The boy suffered a slash wound to his neck and was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery. He was discharged from hospital two days later.
One of these incidents happened on 14 January this year in Doncaster Road. A woman, in her 30s, had been walking along the road at around 7.30pm with two young children, when she reported feeling something sharp to the back of her head. She described seeing a person holding a knife, with a yellow handle, and that the person had then ran away. The woman suffered a small slash wound to her head.
With the links being established and following additional CCTV analysis, an image of the defendant was released to the public on 20 January as part of a further public appeal. This led to the defendant identifying himself at Mansfield House police station a few hours later where he was arrested. The defendant was carrying a rucksack at the time of his arrest which was the same as one seen in CCTV images from the incidents.
Enquiries into the defendant, after he was arrested, then linked him to a fourth incident which had happened in a car park in Exploration Drive, Leicester, just after 11.30am on 2 January. A five-year-old girl was hit from behind by a car which then left the scene. The girl was taken to hospital following the collision after suffering injuries including a broken nose, cuts and bruises.
The car involved in the collision had been linked to the defendant at the time of the incident and the defendant had previously been spoken to by police in connection with the collision during which he had denied being responsible. The vehicle had been forensically seized and enquiries were ongoing. Following the evidence gathered in relation to the other reported incidents, Racitalal was further questioned in relation to the incident in Exploration Drive.
During an interview following his arrest on 20 January, Racitalal denied being responsible for any of the incidents, denied being in contact with any of the victims and denied being in possession of a knife. A search was carried out in the defendant’s bedroom which led to a large kitchen knife, which was wrapped in a pillowcase, being found in the bed while a yellow handled Stanley-style knife was also found in a box on the bed.
Detective Inspector Tim Lindley said: “This was an extremely complex investigation with very distressing circumstances.