Bus hero vows to help youths after horror stabbing in Bow

A fearless commuter stabbed by a youth as he stepped in to protect a group of elderly women on a bus said the experience has made him want to help disengaged youngsters.

Graphic designer Tim Smits put his own safety aside when he saw fellow passengers, which also included a pregnant woman, being harassed by three youths on the number 488 bus as it travelled down Parnell Road in Bow.

He was knifed in the stomach and leg and spent four days recovering in hospital.

But despite fearing he would die, the 32-year-old said he has no regrets about intervening and has vowed to be a positive role model for young Londoners who have “completely negative past”.

The designer, who moved to London from Melbourne, Australia 18 months ago after winning a British Council scholarship, said: “It’s a pretty angry, hateful, negative person who could do this to someone. Unfortunately this person hasn’t had any positive role models in his life.

“Having been through this I feel like I’m in a situation where I can help in some way. I can bring people together to try and raise awareness.”

Mr Smits was on his way to work in Bow last Wednesday (September 14), when he saw the youths refuse to let elderly passengers through the aisle.

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When he told them to stop being disrespectful, one of the two young men approached in him seat and punched him several times.

Mr Smits managed to pin his arms down at one point but was pulled back by the other male and then stabbed twice by his first attacker.

The designer added: “I think a lot of people don’t act because they can end up in a situation that’s not a pleasant one to be in. But say if 20 people on that bus had got up and told the guy to stop it, is he going to tackle all of them?”

He also says the experience has not put him off London.

“It goes on in every big city. There are shocking things that go on in my city. My parents have been going spare but they are proud of what I did.”

Det Con Alex Wildish of Tower Hamlets Police, leading the case, said: “It’s shocking that this disproportionate amount of violence was used during a commute to work.

“People got on and off the bus throughout the journey and would have seen the group before it happened. We’d like speak to them.”

The suspects are aged between 16 and 20 and the main attacker is described as black, 6ft, skinny and with the front of his hair sticking up and the back in plaits.

A second white male is about 5ft 10ins, stocky and wore a red t-Shirt, black tracksuit bottoms and beanie hat.

The third, a girl, is 5ft 3ins, of chunky build with dark brown long curly hair and black-rimmed glasses.

Information to 0207 275 4546 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.