A paranoid schizophrenic knifeman who tried to murder two women in Catford and Plumstead Common has been detained indefinitely in a mental hospital.

Archibald Reverent Foster had been hearing the voice of Kojak actor Telly Savalas telling him to kill people so he could be the next black president of the USA when he struck twice last year.

The 48-year-old, who had been living in a Sydenham community hostel, knifed Ann Nguyen, 26, in Bromley Road on August 22 and 31-year-old Krisztina Kun weeks later on September 5 as she strolled across Plumstead Common.

Woolwich Crown Court heard yesterday (August 4) how Ms Nguyen had left her Catford home at 9am and was walking towards Bellingham station, avoiding an estate that made her feel unsafe, when she spied Foster.

She said: "I was aware he was staring at me. His face showed no expression.

"He made his way gradually across the pavement and was at arm’s length, that's when I saw the knife."

Foster tried to stab her in the stomach "at least six times" and she toppled over into some bushes before the attack continued.

She said: "The movements were continuous. I was screaming. The male said nothing. He showed no emotion. It was as if it was a normal everyday occurrence."

Passer-by John Wayre, 69, commended in court for his "breathtaking" courage, raced to the woman's aid, hitting Foster and grabbing him before the attacker fled back home to Tredown Road.

Ms Nguyen was left with injuries to her hand, arm and leg. In a witness statement she said the trauma meant she sometimes still feels scared of walking alone.

A 51-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident on August 22, but was subsequently released without charge.

But Foster was not arrested and was free to strike again weeks later, this time attacking Stratford careworker Ms Kun, who was enjoying a sunny walk to work in Plumstead.

News Shopper: Forensics officers working at the cordoned off scene

She recalled: "Out of nowhere I had my eyes covered from someone behind me."

Thinking it was a friend playing a prank she smiled, before she felt a knife on her neck.

She said: "I felt the knife being drawn back and forth across my throat in a cutting motion."

It is thought she only survived having her throat slit because Foster used the blunt side of the knife by mistake.

The next thing she remembered was being on the floor with Foster leaning over her, stabbing downwards towards her.

After the attack, Foster ran off, jumped on a bus and was later caught by police.

A jury took just under an hour to decide that Foster - whose mental state meant he was not fit to plead - did attempt to murder the two women.

Judge Michael Topolski sentenced Foster, who has been diagnosed as insane, to an unlimited time in a mental health institution.

He also issued Mr Wayre with a judge's commendation for bravery and £750 from the public purse.

Mr Wayre previously received two awards in respect for his bravery, a Commissioner’s Commendation given to him by the MPS Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe on March 25 and also a Gold medal for Bravery from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Kun, who briefly returned home to Hungary after the attack, said the injuries meant she would never have full use of one of her hands again.

But she said: "I still love London. I know it's weird."

And she said of her attacker: "I've accepted it. It wasn't him, it was his illness."


Investigating officer Acting Detective Sergeant Stephanie Chance said: “I would like to thank the two victims for their courage and the support they’ve given to the investigation throughout. This was a horrific, unprovoked attack on them both and I wish them the very best for the future.

"I would also like to commend the bravery of each of the witnesses who went to the aid of both victims. Without their courage and intervention these attacks could well have been fatal.

"I am very pleased with the sentence, a very dangerous man is now off the streets and is receiving the care and treatment that he requires.

"I would also like to thank DC Shukeil Mandala from Lewisham for his assistance in this investigation, leading to the conviction of Mr Foster."