By Regina Motalib
A witness has described the scene of the latest fatal knife attack in London as “horrific”.
A 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in daylight on Sydenham Road, at its hunction with Hazel Grove, in Sydenham, on Saturday.
The attack took place on Saturday in front of horrified onlookers. Local Father of three, Daniel, 45, described the moment he stepped out of a convenience store to see an air ambulance helicopter landing in nearby Home Park.
He said: “The air ambulance landed just opposite to where I was standing. I saw a group of paramedics rushing out. I could not see any sign of an incident. I got on my bike and cycled towards my home, when I came upon the incident scene – the paramedics and emergency service had also just reached the scene.
“To my shock, I witnessed a young black male laying injured and quickly being attended to by medics. The police asked us all to move back as they started erecting a cordon.”
Daniel described the shock that was visible amongst the group of passers-by who were stood together. He said people were filming the scene and one particular witness was shaking and crying and had blood all over his hands.
Daniel added: “This man who I recognised as another neighbour was very distraught and upset. He told me he had been tending to the victim and was ‘holding his guts in’ for 10 minutes before the emergency services reached the scene. He was angry that he was pushed aside by police.”
The distressed man can be heard in a video taken at the incident scene, describing how he attended to the injured teenager.
Daniel comforted the distraught man as did other members of the public before taking the decision to approach police and get help for the man.
Daniel added: “It was upsetting to see him in such a distressed state with blood all over his hands. I went over to the police to alert them. I told them that the person who was tending to the victim needs their immediate attention. The police then took the man into a van.”
Daniel described the chaotic scene as police officers were giving contradicting commands to the public.
He said: “Another lady next to me told police she had witnessed the whole incident. There seemed to be confusion as people were told to vacate the area but another police officer said they needed to talk to potential witnesses so not to disperse the crowd.
“When I returned to the scene a couple of hours later, a blue police tent had been erected and I learned that the young lad had died from his injuries.”
Daniel has lived in Sydenham for more than 19 years and appeared shaken and disturbed by this murder. He said: “Sadly this is not a one-off incident. There have been a few other fatalities of this kind on this high road. I am so frightened for my children that my wife and I want to move out of London.”
Daniel feels that not enough is being done on a government level to deal with knife and gun crime. As a parent with a teenager and school-age children, he feels let down. He added: “I feel more needs to be done to tackle the drugs and gang issues which lead to such deaths. Children from difficult backgrounds are lured into gangs and made to deal drugs. I feel gateway drugs such as cannabis lead to other A class drugs and more serious and violent crimes.”
He stressed he is not a user but believes only legislation of cannabis will take it out of the hands of gang leaders. “I feel now is the time for the government to consider legalisation,” he said. “This mindless killing of youngsters needs to stop now.”
Jackie, 50, is another local resident who lives within the cordoned off area. She said: “I have lived here for over 40 years and these incidents are becoming more frequent and more deadly. As a mother of a teenage son, I feel saddened to say that I felt anger before I felt grief for the young victim. How many deaths will it take before something is done to address the issue?
“A few years ago, one of my neighbours lost his young son to knife crime. He sold his house and moved away. People should not have to resort to this. As a community, we need to stand together and work together with the police and local authority. Unless we do this, there will be more killings and communities will be torn apart.”
This sentiment was shared by a police officer at one of the cordon points. He said: “What these youngsters don’t realise is that knife crime not only destroys the lives of the victim’s family but also devastates the local community. I feel very sad about this young man losing his life.”
Police have launched a murder probe and are asking anyone with information to get in touch. Witnesses have been asked to call 101, providing the reference CAD6072/10APR. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111.’
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