South-east Lon­don stab­bing: girl aged 16 ar­rested

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Matthew Weaver

A 16-year-old girl has been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der af­ter a man was fa­tally stabbed in south-east Lon­don.

She is the third per­son to be ar­rested over the killing of Ay­o­deji Habeeb Azeez, 22, in An­er­ley at lunchtime on Sun­day 4 Novem­ber.

The lat­est ar­rest comes af­ter a pe­riod of six days in which five peo­ple were fa­tally stabbed in Lon­don – three of whom were un­der 18, bring­ing the to­tal of deaths in vi­o­lent cir­cum­stances in the cap­i­tal this year to 119.

The girl was ar­rested at an ad­dress in south Lon­don yes­ter­day morn­ing, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan po­lice said. Two men aged 19 and 21 were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der on Sun­day and have been re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

De­tec­tives be­lieve Azeez was at­tacked by four or five peo­ple. A post­mortem ex­am­i­na­tion on Tues­day gave his cause of death as mul­ti­ple stab wounds.

Azeez, from Da­gen­ham, east Lon­don, was one of five stab­bing vic­tims in the cap­i­tal in six days.

DCI Mark Cran­well, who is lead­ing the An­er­ley in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ap­pealed for wit­nesses. “This at­tack took place in the mid­dle of the day, in broad day­light, in a res­i­den­tial street. It goes with­out say­ing that this in­ci­dent would have stood out in what would nor­mally have been a quiet en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

“It ap­pears that four or five male sus­pects were in­volved in the at­tack; both they and Ay­o­deji were seen to run into Samos Road from Grace Mews. By this point, Ay­o­deji had been at­tacked. The sus­pects fled in one di­rec­tion, while Ay­o­deji went the other way be­fore he col­lapsed.

“We need in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic to as­sist us in keep­ing the mo­men­tum of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion mov­ing for­ward.”

De­spite statis­tics show­ing a fall in the over­all num­ber of mur­ders in Lon­don in the past 20 years, a com­par­a­tive surge since 2016 – partly driven last year by the killings of 14 peo­ple in ter­ror­ist at­tacks, which pushed the num­ber of mur­ders in the cap­i­tal to 130 – has prompted fears of law­less­ness on the cap­i­tal’s streets.

Across Eng­land and Wales, there were 268 homi­cides in­volv­ing a knife or sharp in­stru­ment in the year to March 2018, the lat­est year for which fig­ures are avail­able. That was a near 25% in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year and a 13% in­crease since 2010, ac­cord­ing to a Com­mons Li­brary briefing pa­per pub­lished yes­ter­day.

Hos­pi­tal data in­cluded in the same doc­u­ment showed there were 5,053 hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions due to as­sault by a sharp ob­ject that year, a 14% rise on the pre­vi­ous year and the high­est fig­ure since the year to March 2008. One in six of those were of a child aged un­der 18.

On Mon­day night, John Ogun­jobi, 16, died in front of his par­ents in Tulse Hill, south Lon­don.

DCI Richard Van­den­bergh, who is lead­ing the Tulse Hill in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said: “We be­lieve the vic­tim was at­tacked by a num­ber of sus­pects and the al­ter­ca­tion would have un­doubt­edly drawn the at­ten­tion of those who were in the vicin­ity.”

The other three stab­bing vic­tims were Rocky Dje­lal, 38, Jay Hughes, 15, and Mal­colm Mide-Madar­i­ola, 17.

Ch Supt Si­mon Messinger, the com­man­der of the Met’s cen­tral south com­mand unit, said ex­tra of­fi­cers had been drafted in to the area fol­low­ing the stab­bings.

“We have seen a spate of fa­tal stab­bings in south Lon­don re­cently, with five mur­ders over the course of the last week. One mur­der is one too many, with the dev­as­ta­tion it causes to fam­i­lies, friends and com­mu­ni­ties dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend,” he said.

“Tack­ling vi­o­lence is a pri­or­ity and one which re­mains at the fore­front of all the work we do. This in­cludes util­is­ing our lo­cal re­sources but also sup­ple­ment­ing them with re­sources from across the Met, in­clud­ing the vi­o­lent crime task­force.”

Clock­wise from far left: Ay­o­deji Habeeb Azeez, John Ogun­jobi, Rocky Dje­lal, Mal­colm MideMadar­i­ola and Jay Hughes. All died in six days

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