Tributes paid to ‘really nice boy’, 14, stabbed to death outside pizza restaurant

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
People place flowers at the scene in Barking Road, East Ham, where 14-year-old Fares Maatou was knifed to death on Friday. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2020.
People place flowers at the scene where 14-year-old Fares Maatou was killed. (PA)

Tributes have been paid to a schoolboy who was stabbed to death outside a pizza restaurant in east London.

Fares Maatou, 14, died at the scene of the attack in Canning Town, east London, on Friday afternoon.

Witnesses said he was wearing his school uniform when he was knifed outside the Zzetta Soul Fired Pizza restaurant on Barking Road.

Two boys aged 14 and 15 have been arrested on suspicion of murder, while another 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the incident.

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Fares Maatou, 14, died at the scene of the attack in Canning Town, east London (Police)
Fares Maatou, 14, died at the scene of the attack in Canning Town, east London (Police)

Floral tributes and balloons were placed outside the pizza restaurant.

Speaking from the scene, one of his tearful friends, aged 15, said: “He was really nice. He had nothing to do with the gang stuff around here.

“He would just be there for you. If you ever needed him he would be there.”

She added: “He was happy. He loved life.”

Police were called to the incident shortly before 4pm where the teenager was found with stab injuries.

Despite the efforts of the emergency services, he was pronounced dead half an hour later.

The force said officers believe Fares was attacked with “a large bladed item”.

A post-mortem examination is still to take place.

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People place flowers at the scene in Barking Road, East Ham, where a 14-year-old boy was knifed to death on Friday. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2020.
Tributes are left for Fares. (PA)

Fares is the eleventh and youngest teenager to be stabbed to death in the capital already this year.

A staff member from the restaurant said a FedEx worker, an off-duty police officer and a woman had all rushed to the teenager’s aid and administered CPR as he lay in the street.

The worker, who did not want to be named, said it was “really bad” when Fares’s family arrived at the scene.

“I haven’t seen anything like this,” he said, adding the family were “crying”.

"When the doctor announced him dead he broke the news to his sister and she almost collapsed," he said.

“Looking at the family bonding I think he was a really loved one.”

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Flowers left at the scene in Barking Road, East Ham, where a 14-year-old boy was knifed to death on Friday. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2020.
The victim was stabbed to death on Friday. (PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Perry Benton, of specialist crime, added: “Fares’s family are, of course, absolutely devastated.

“I have assured them of my total commitment to bringing to justice those responsible for this senseless killing.

“They will be supported by specialist officers at every stage of what will be a terrible ordeal for them in the weeks, months and years ahead.

He said a crime scene remains in place, and an increased high visibility police presence will remain in the area.