Knife crime po­lice: Be ap­palled

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Martin Evans, Jamie John­son and Izzy Lyons

A SE­NIOR de­tec­tive has said “we shouldn’t have to live like this” af­ter a 14-year-old was knocked down and stabbed to death in a tar­geted at­tack.

Jay­den Moodie was rammed off the moped he was rid­ing il­le­gally through the Ley­ton area of east Lon­don on Tues­day even­ing, be­fore three men jumped from the car and re­peat­edly stabbed him as he lay on the ground.

The school­boy had only re­cently moved back to the cap­i­tal af­ter be­ing sent to live in Not­ting­ham in an at­tempt to keep him away from vi­o­lence.

He is the 25th teenager to die vi­o­lently on the streets of the cap­i­tal since the be­gin­ning of 2018 and one of the youngest for sev­eral years.

Det Chief Supt Richard Tucker said the age of the vic­tim “beg­gared be­lief ” and said he had been un­able to sleep think­ing about it.

Ap­peal­ing for wit­nesses to help catch the killers, he said: “Be shocked, be ap­palled. We shouldn’t have to live like this. What I would say is, work with us to ac­tu­ally find the an­swers and the peo­ple who have done this.”

Jay­den Moodie wanted to be a boxer when he grew up. He’ll never get the chance. On Tues­day, the 14-year-old was rid­ing a moped il­le­gally in a street in east Lon­don when a car rammed him and knocked him off. Four men jumped out of the ve­hi­cle – a black Mercedes – and be­gan kick­ing and punch­ing the boy as he lay on the ground. At least one then pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the back up to seven times.

Jay­den was pro­nounced dead at the scene at 7.09pm, less than 40 min­utes later. The child, pho­tographed here meet­ing his idol An­thony Joshua, the world heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion, had been tar­geted and as­sas­si­nated by a ri­val drugs gang.

Wel­come to Lon­don in 2019, a city that reck­ons it­self to be the great­est in the world but which in­creas­ingly at its mar­gins re­sem­bles Bo­gota, Colom­bia, at the height of its drug wars.

In the photo with Joshua, Jay­den, a promis­ing boxer, ap­pears the sweet­est of boys, cherub-faced and cam­era-shy. Fam­ily and friends de­scribed him yes­ter­day as a “good-hearted boy”.

But he could be eas­ily led astray, too, and by the age of 14 he ap­pears to have be­come en­tranced by gang cul­ture. On his Face­book page, Jay­den posted a pic­ture of him­self clutch­ing a wad of £50 and £20 notes, de­scrib­ing him­self as a “trap­per kid”, ur­ban slang for a drug dealer.

Jay­den, who was born in Lon­don, was brought up by his sin­gle mother, Jada, but had re­cently be­gun to go off the rails. His fa­ther, ac­cord­ing to his fam­ily, lives in Ja­maica. Jay­den had been dis­patched to Not­ting­ham to live with his god­mother af­ter Jada be­came con­cerned by his be­hav­iour.

Jay­den would split his time be­tween the two ci­ties, but around six months ago, he per­suaded his mother to let him re­turn to the cap­i­tal, telling her he was miss­ing his friends.

At their semi-de­tached home in the Arnold dis­trict of Not­ting­ham last night, Zoe Grant, his god­mother, said: “He was full of life, fun lov­ing and a ray of sun­shine. He was a beau­ti­ful boy, so in­tel­li­gent and had every­thing to live for. He went to Lon­don and then this hap­pens, it’s just so un­fair. I’m so numb. I’m shocked by it all.”

Levi Clay­ton, 27, Mrs Grant’s son who was close to Jay­den dur­ing their time in Not­ting­ham, said: “He should never have gone to Lon­don, it’s law­less. He didn’t need to go but he made a de­ci­sion and it’s cost him his life. He couldn’t es­cape the crowd.”

Jay­den, he ac­cepted, had been a bit of a “bad boy”, but the fam­ily al­ways hoped it was just a “typ­i­cal naughty teenage phase” he would grow out of.

Jay­den’s sis­ter Leah, 18, yes­ter­day said she was scared her brother would be “re­mem­bered as a statis­tic” in the ris­ing epi­demic of knife vi­o­lence in the cap­i­tal, but told The Times she did not be­lieve her brother was part of a gang. On Tues­day even­ing, Jay­den had been rid­ing his moped along Bick­ley Road, Ley­ton, on the fringes of the site of the 2012 Olympics.

Wit­nesses watched the Mercedes aim at him and then plough into him. The men pounced and af­ter killing Jay­den in the street, got back in the car and drove off. One man, who did not want to be named, de­scribed how a wit­ness came into the premises where he worked nearby, clearly hor­ri­fied.

“They said they knocked him off the moped and four peo­ple got out of the car and they stabbed him seven times – there were un­sur­viv­able wounds in his back,” he said.

Jay­den might have by then been un­con­scious. His hel­met, likely too big, had fallen off and lay 30ft away.

The man added: “He [the wit­ness] thought it was an ac­ci­dent, that some­body had knocked some­one, but then he said they quickly came out of the car. They beat him up, and they stabbed him, and they left.”

An­thony An­der­son, 48, a me­chanic who works in an al­ley next to Bick­ley Road, said he would of­ten give the vic­tim “fa­therly ad­vice”.

Speak­ing out­side the garage where he works, he said: “He’s some­body I re­ally spoke to a lot, tried to get him off the street, tried to just get him to go to school … it re­ally, re­ally hit me when I heard last night.”

Po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mur­der last night in­sisted that the at­tack had been “tar­geted and in­tent on lethal force from the out­set”.

Yes­ter­day af­ter­noon po­lice re­cov­ered a car be­lieved to be in­volved in the in­ci­dent. The black Mercedes B Class was re­cov­ered in the Carlisle Road area of Ley­ton and re­mains in situ for foren­sic re­cov­ery. Det Chief Insp Chris Soole said: “We are treat­ing the re­cov­ery of the car as a sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment in our en­quiries, which are still very much in their early stages.”

An aca­demic study last year by Lon­don South Bank Univer­sity, called “From Post­codes to Profit”, listed 12 gangs op­er­at­ing in Ley­ton and sur­round­ing ar­eas. The long­est es­tab­lished gang, The Beau­mont Crew, has 100 mem­bers, its youngest aged 12, who, said the aca­demic study, “are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing ac­tive in street level crime as vic­tims and per­pe­tra­tors in­clud­ing se­ri­ous vi­o­lence (stab­bings), weapons car­ry­ing, CSE [child sex ex­ploita­tion] and drug deal­ing.”

Det Chief Supt Richard Tucker, lead­ing the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said he had been un­able to sleep for think­ing about what had hap­pened to Jay­den. He said: “A lot of peo­ple are say­ing ‘young man’ – he’s not. He’s a boy. He’s 14. I think that will strike a chord with so many peo­ple and so many par­ents across the UK.”

In Ley­ton yes­ter­day, the shock was still re­ver­ber­at­ing. “I am very scared liv­ing here. I want to move. I only live around the cor­ner and I’ve heard of sev­eral stab­bings re­cently,” said Sra­mat Acheam­four, a 23-year-old stu­dent. “The gangs are be­com­ing more and more prom­i­nent. It never used to be this vi­o­lent.”

A re­porter for The Daily Tele­graph, walk­ing yes­ter­day to­wards the scene of the mur­der, saw a man be­ing treated for stab wounds in a road two streets away. The man, who ap­peared to be in his early 30s, had suf­fered “slash in­juries” to his face af­ter be­ing chased by a group of youths.

‘He should never have gone to Lon­don, it’s law­less. He didn’t need to go but he made a de­ci­sion and it’s cost him his life. He couldn’t es­cape the crowd’

From top: Jay­den Moodie, 14, with his box­ing idol An­thony Joshua; foren­sics in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the scene of the mur­der in Ley­ton; Jay­den clutch­ing a wad of £50 and £20 notes in an im­age posted on Face­book

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