'There's more knife crime, more drugs': east London frustration at latest stabbing

Amy Walker
Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

Residents of Stratford, east London, have voiced their fears and frustration over rising violence in the area after the fatal stabbing of a man in his 40s in the early hours of Monday.

The death in Whalebone Lane was one of four suspected murders to occur in four days in London. It followed three homicides in the space of 24 hours, including two teenagers who were killed on Friday evening.

Ahsan Malik, 59, manager of Olympac internet cafe, yards from where the latest incident took place, described gang-related crime in the area as a “scary situation”. “There’s more knife crime, more drugs,” he said. “I see the police and they’re doing all they can, but they can’t control the young people.”

Scotland Yard said officers were called by paramedics at about 12.40am and the victim was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

Tina Bowers, 58, who lives about 10 minutes from the scene and whose route home was obstructed by the police cordon on Monday afternoon, said she had stopped going out after dark because of increasing violence on the streets.

“It’s getting worse. What is going to stop it? Stop and search – that ain’t going to stop it,” she said. Though Bowers felt police were trying their best to tackle crime, she added that declining numbers of youth clubs in the area meant there were more teenagers on the streets.

Her friend Debra Sparks, 61, was less perturbed about leaving the house at night, but added: “I’ve got my husband and my son, though – and the dog.”

One man, who declined to give his name, said he had started walking a different route back from his restaurant job near Stratford Park – adjacent to the crime scene – because of “young men hanging around”. “There are drug dealers everywhere – you see them all the time. I don’t know why they’re not scared of this, because the police station is just there,” he added.

A string of nonfatal attacks also took place over the weekend, including the shooting of a 28-year-old in east London on Monday morning and a stabbing on Saturday that left a 45-year-old in a critical condition.

On Friday afternoon, an 18-year-old, named in reports as Cheyon Evans, was found stabbed on Deeside Road in Wandsworth, south-west London, and died at the scene.

A 17-year-old from Merton, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and Mohammed Nadir Dafallah, 18, from Wandsworth, have been charged with murder and were due in court on Monday.

In the second incident, Eniola Aluko, 19, from Thamesmead in south-east London, was found with critical injuries after reports of a shooting in Plumstead. He too died at the scene.

Four teenagers who were arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday were later bailed pending further inquiries. An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, emergency services responded to reports of an injured man in Tower Hamlets, east London. The man, in his 30s, had been stabbed and was later pronounced dead at the scene. A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder in Victoria on Saturday night, and a 28-year-old man was arrested for the same charge in Croydon on Sunday.

Though the attacks are believed to be unrelated, dealing with the incidents had put added pressure on the Metropolitan police, said the London mayor, Sadiq Khan. “Our overstretched police are working around the clock to keep Londoners safe. They need our support to end this scourge of violence.”

The US president, Donald Trump, lashed out at Khan on Sunday, quoting the far-right commentator Katie Hopkins to accuse him of being “a disaster” over the violence. Trump was criticised for the attack – despite the support of the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who said he would “150% agree” with the overall statement – but on Monday, some Stratford residents seemed to share resentment toward Khan.

“It’s alright him going to see the kids when they’re playing football, but I’ve never seen him around here when something happens,” said Sparks. “He is useless.”