Antisocial incident near Kingsland Bridge

On Sunday 27th July Christian Wolmar sent the following statement to the Islington Cyclists' subscribers:-

My 24 year old daughter was pushed into the canal by two youths this morning just after 9am. She was cycling eastwards just before the point where the towpath is currently closed. They deliberately got up off a bench, blocked her way and just pushed her into canal. It may, of course, have been attempt to steal her bike.

She is fine but shaken. Other people gave chase to the youths and also helped fish her and her bike out of the canal. Police were very helpful and said this was second incident this week - they are taking issue v seriously. Description was of two youths of Somali appearance.

Can someone please pass on to Hackney Cyclists?


Woman could have drowned under her bike in Regent's Canal attack

31st July 2014.

A woman could have drowned when she was trapped under her bike after two youths pushed her into a canal.

Misha Mccgwire, 24, was cycling to work on Sunday morning along Regent's Canal towpath close to Kingsland Road when she came across the two thugs who blocked her path and forced her into the water.

Trapped underneath her cycle and unable to breathe, she was saved when passers-by rescued her, while others chased the youths away.

Her father, Christian Wolmar, a potential Labour candidate in next year's London Mayoral election, said: "These two kids deliberately got up off a bench and stood in her way.

"She wondered, 'What's this about', rang her bell and they didn't move, and then it doesn't take much to nudge somebody into the canal and they ran off. It's difficult to know if it was a stupid prank or if they had a serious intent, but the police said this is a serious and they would charge.

"She was stuck under the bike, it's not that easy to get a bike off you, when you are plunged in, she said she was flailing about."

Ms Mccgwire was shaken but otherwise fine and advised to get a tetanus jab by ambulance staff.

Mr Wolmar doesn't want the incident to put people off using the canal but has warned others to be vigilant.

He said: "The police said this is was the second incident this week, they are taking the issue very seriously.

"I used to cycle along the canal 15 years ago, it was deserted then and it was slightly scary, but now it's great, it's an amenity. You have to defeat these kids, not let them get away with it."

Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends of Regent's Canal group, has called for CCTV coverage along the towpath, following a spate of antisocial behaviour.

He said: "We need to study all the patterns of antisocial behaviour in the hope that the canal will lose its status as a magnet for unchallenged crime. I hope this will trigger the Borough Commander to meet the canal and council executives to agree a safety plan otherwise boaters and other canal users will feel abandoned and unprotected.

"A lot of people are investing time and money trying to improve the surroundings, through creating community gardens, cleaning up litter and graffiti and they need assurance that they are getting support from the authorities."

Daughter of London Mayoral hopeful is thrown into water from towpath

1st August 2014.

THE 24-year-old daughter of Christian ­Wolmar, the Holloway-based Labour London Mayoral hopeful, has escaped serious injury after being thrown with her bike into the Regent's Canal.

Police are investigating the assault at 9.15am on Sunday when Misha MccGwire, who had been cycling along the towpath close to Dunston Street, Hackney, was approached by two young men who then pushed her and her bike into the water.

The incident has sparked a major row over the "lawlessness" and lack of safety and security along the towpath.

Misha, Mr Wolmar's daughter with his previous partner, journalist Scarlett MccGwire, is a Hull University English and history graduate, and was on her way to a restaurant where she works part-time at Canary Wharf.

She was badly upset and shaken but otherwise unhurt after the attack. She did not need hospital treatment but an ambulance took her back home to Holloway for a change of clothes.

Towpath walkers helped pull Misha out of the water and several chased after the two men, but they had disappeared.

Mr Wolmar, Britain's leading transport commentator and writer, said the worst aspect for Misha was the suddenness and shock.

"One minute she was happily cycling along on a nice morning and the next these two young men had got up from a bench and were standing in her path," he said. "She rang her bell but they just stood on the spot and then for no reason pushed her into the canal.

"Her bike fell on top of her in the water, which could have posed a problem. But fortunately the water was relatively shallow - about four feet - and she managed to get out with the help of walkers.

"Her mobile phone was ruined and she needed a new one but amazingly her passport, which was in her pocket, was usable. On Monday, she was able to fly off for a holiday in Italy."

Ian Shacklock, chairman of pressure group Friends of Regent's Canal, said he understood it was the second incident in a week in which someone was pushed into the canal.

"This is a bit of a wake-up call," he said. "I don't want to stop people using the towpath but cyclists and walkers need to be aware of the dangers."

St Peter's ward councillor Martin Klute said the incident was yet another example of the lack of security and effective enforcement of the canal and towpath by charity Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways).

A spokeswoman for the trust said the organisation was asking the public to contact it about this kind of incident. "It helps us focus our attentions on specific areas if they become problematic," she said. "It also gives us leverage when speaking to police to request more patrols on towpaths in certain areas where a crime has occurred.

"Christian has responded to our email of support to say that this dreadful experience has not put his daughter off cycling to work on the towpaths. This kind of incident is nasty but fortunately very rare."