A 14-year-old boy has been stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off a moped, in what police believe was a targeted attack.
The boy, named locally as Jayden Moody, was found in Bickley Road,Waltham Forest, at 18:30 GMT on Tuesday.
Detectives believe the moped had been involved in a crash with a car, after which three men got out the vehicle, stabbed the teenager and drove off. He died at the scene. No arrests have been made and a cordon is in place.
Jayden is believed to be the youngest victim to die on London’s streets in the past year. There were 132 homicides in 2018, the highest total since 2008. At the scene, a man who said he knew the victim paid tribute to a “wonderful child”.
Solomon, who did not want to give his surname, said he had been in the area since he was told the news last night. “As far as I’m concerned, Jayden was a good child, a loving child. “The system is really letting down the youths.”
Det Ch Insp Larry Smith, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Everything that we have learned about this attack so far indicates it was targeted and intent on lethal force from the outset. “We are doing everything we can to catch those who carried out this cowardly attack and bring them to justice.”
A section 60 order has been put in place, allowing officers to search anyone in the vicinity of the scene for weapons. Police have not said whether they believe the murder was gang-related but all lines of inquiry remain open.
Officers are trying to trace the vehicle used in the attack, which is believed to be a black Mercedes B Class with extensive frontal damage. Kerry-Ann Honeygahn told how a few weeks ago, her friend took a knife away from the boy.
The 38-year-old youth mentor said she “wasn’t surprised” to hear of the violence. “Another young life has been taken on the streets of London.” Around the corner from the crime scene is a narrow street with several garages.
Mechanics there say the boy used to come by for a chat, riding on a moped with another boy – thought to be either his friend or his brother.
Garage owner Anthony Anderson said he felt like a father figure to the “nice little boy” and was “very sad” to hear he had died. “I used to encourage him to go to school, to stay out of trouble. He used to chat to me about growing up.”
The 56-year-old, who has two children and worries “what will happen next”, believes the killing was gang-related. Of the 132 murders in 2018, 77 were stabbings, compared to 80 the year before.
In April, the Met set up a £15m violent crime taskforce, which in its first six months made 1,361 arrests, seized 340 knives, and recovered 258 offensive weapons. But has been the subject of criticism and described as “just a sticking plaster”.
Met commissioner Cressida Dick told Radio 4’s Today Programme on 27 December that knife crime in London had “levelled off”, praising the “Herculean effort” of officers. London mayor Sadiq Khan, who said he was “greatly saddened” by the latest death, also set up the Violence Reduction Unit with £500,000 of funding in September to “treat violence like a disease”. Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, said she was “devastated” by the news from her constituency, describing it as a “terrible, horrific event”.
Waltham Forest Council leader, Clare Coghill, called for those with information to come forward, warning that “to stay silent is to support murderers”. The Waltham Forest borough has had problems with gang crime and the local authority has spent £3 million on a four-year prevention programme. It commissioned a report, published last summer, which found that so-called county lines drug gangs – which often target children and vulnerable youngsters – were operating in the area. Ali Yamah, a tyre fitter who has worked opposite Bickley Road for 17 years, said the area could be intimidating at night.
“In my experience here there is drug dealing, this is the main source,” the 48-year-old said. “In the evening, now it’s winter time, they put on masks. “Sometimes we are afraid, people are afraid of this kind of behaviour.”