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Stabbing deaths among young people in London rise sharply

Sunday November 18 2018

Stabbing, murder

At the time of writing, there have been 120 violent deaths in London this year, the last five in just six days, and by the time you read this, the total will very likely be higher. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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At the time of writing, there have been 120 violent deaths in London this year, the last five in just six days, and by the time you read this, the total will very likely be higher.

Most of the killings were stabbings and both victims and perpetrators were mostly teenagers or young twenties.

The latest to die, John Ogunjobi, aged 16, was knifed in Tulse Hill, south London, last week, apparently as he left a friend’s house.

Paramedics tried to save him but he succumbed at 11.40pm. Four men were arrested.

The year’s first victim, back on January 1, was Kyall Parnell, 17, died of a stab wound to the heart.

Skip a few deaths to February 3, when Hasan Ozkan, 19, was singled out by a group and stabbed multiple times in Barking.

Miss the bloody spring months and land on June 27 when a fight took place between men armed with baseball bats in Edmonton, North London. Somehow in the fracas, Ishak Tacine, 20, died of multiple knife wounds.


And so it goes … already, the 2018 total has exceeded the 116 homicides, excluding the victims of terrorist attacks, which took place in the capital during last year.

One Tulse Hill witness, Paulina Wedderburn, said the boy who died looked “like an angel.” His parents were there. “If you saw the mum and dad, it was heartbreaking,” she said. “What’s going on? Why do they have to be killing each other?”

Research by Croydon council found that those involved in serious youth violence frequently lacked any kind of relationship with a trusted adult, in particular with their mothers.

Hamida Ali, the council’s member for community safety, examined dozens of cases and found that “not one of those young people had a relationship with a trusted adult … not a grandparent, not an uncle or an aunt, not a neighbour, not a mentor, not a family friend. I think that is very important in terms of love and attention for our young people.”


She added that every one of the youths investigated had been kicked out of school and in many cases their mothers had been in trouble before the child was born.

Across England and Wales as a whole, there were 268 homicides involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year to March 2018, the latest period for which figures are available. That was a near 25 per cent increase on the previous year.

Many reasons are ventured for the upsurge in violent crime among and against young people.

Nequela Whittaker used to be a gang leader in south London. Now she is a youth worker. She told the BBC: ‘‘The youth culture seems to be falling apart. Young people don’t feel like they fit in with society and there doesn’t seem to be a voice for young people … on the streets it seems to be feuds from social media, from gang rivalry, postcode wars.”

What was needed, she said, was “discussion and conversation to address what’s happening and think what the community is doing. What is it that young people are lacking? What opportunities can we create for young people?”

* * *

New statistics from the European Union confirm some widely accepted national stereotypes but contradict others.

According to Eurostat, the British are the biggest boozers, Hungarians are the laziest people, Greece’s men do hardly any house work and though the Italians tend to shun exercise, they are the slimmest of all the nations.

Surprisingly, the supposedly progressive Scandinavians and other western Europeans are worse at putting women into positions of power than formerly Soviet bloc members such as Latvia, Poland and Slovenia.

The Dutch are the least likely to consume healthy fruit and vegetables, the Portuguese are the worst readers and Danes, Swedes and Finns all do the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

As for alcohol consumption, the UK is the only EU country where more than half of men — 52 per cent — drink alcohol every week. After Britain comes Ireland on 48 per cent, then Denmark 47 per cent, with Luxembourg and Sweden completing the top five.

* * *

Talking numbers, a stats professor is about to fly off to a conference but as he boards the plane a bomb is found in his suitcase. The security officers are puzzled. “You are a successful career man with a family. Why would you want to blow up the plane?”

Said the professor, “I did not plan to blow up the plane, but I am a nervous traveller. I read that the possibility of a bomb being aboard any passenger aircraft was a thousand to one. I still felt nervous, so I brought a bomb of my own. The chance of two bombs being on a plane is one in a million. That made me feel much safer.”