Two boys were stabbed to death within an hour of each other on Thursday, police have confirmed, making 2021 the bloodiest year on record for teen homicides in London.
A 16-year-old boy was fatally wounded at Philpot’s Farm, Yiewsley, west London, and was pronounced dead at 8.25pm.
It followed the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old boy in Ashburton Park, Croydon, south London, who was pronounced dead at 7.36pm.
The Metropolitan Police said it was too early to say whether the two incidents, more than 20 miles apart, were linked.
The double tragedy brings the total number of teenage killings in the capital in a calendar year to 30 – passing a previous peak of 29, set in 2008.
Speaking from the scene in Croydon, Metropolitan Police Commander Alex Murray said: “My message today, other than speaking to the families and friends of those that London has lost, is to say you cannot carry knives in London.
“This is what happens when knives are carried and we all have a role in relation to tackling knife crime.”
And in a direct message to parents, he said: “If you have concerns, talk to your kids.
“Make sure they’re not carrying knives, make sure they’re not hanging around with kids carrying knives.
“We don’t know who has knives but we can find out and we can stop them hurting someone or being hurt.”
The two murder investigations will again prompt discussion about the possible causes of youth violence, with experts suggesting this includes a rise in the number of children who are vulnerable, increased pressure on services such as policing, and social media fuelling conflict.
I am devastated by the deaths of a 15-year-old boy in Croydon and a 16-year-old boy in Hillingdon. My thoughts & prayers are with their families, friends & communities. I’m in close contact with @MetPoliceUK who are doing everything possible to bring those responsible to justice.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) December 31, 2021
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “devastated” by the double tragedy, and that the police are “doing everything possible to bring those responsible to justice”.
He said: “I refuse to accept that the loss of young lives is inevitable and will continue to be relentless in taking the bold action needed to put an end to violence in our city.”
Scotland Yard said police were called to the Croydon stabbing shortly after 7pm.
They gave first aid to the boy before the ambulance service arrived but he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Police were called to the stabbing in Yiewsley shortly after 7.30pm, where they found the 16-year-old victim suffering from a puncture wound.
He was also declared dead at the scene.
The victims’ family members have been informed but neither boy has been formally identified, Scotland Yard said.
Post-mortem examinations will be held later.