- 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne shot dead on Monday in latest killing on streets of London
- 16-year-old boy also fighting for his life in separate attack on same night
- Police have launched 47 murder inquiries in 2018
- In the whole of last year there were 130 murders in London
- David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, is “deeply worried” about the spike in violent crime
Eyewitnesses have described the moment a 17-year-old girl died in her mother’s arms after being shot ‘for no reason at all’ in a drive-by attack during another night of violence in London.
The teenager, named locally as Tanesha Melbourne, was with friends in Chalgrove Road, Tottenham, north London, when she was murdered shortly before 9.30pm on Monday.
A 16-year-old boy is also fighting for his life in a separate shooting nearby in Walthamstow half an hour later. Another boy, aged 15, was taken to hospital with stab injuries amid concerns over the rising death toll in the capital this year.
A woman who knew the murdered girl said the victim was “just chilling with her friends” when she was shot from a car for “no reason at all”.
“The car just pulled up and just started shooting,” said the woman, who did not want to be named. She said she heard the gunshots “like fireworks” from her house.
She added: “Her friend came banging on my door so I came out quickly. I even tried to save her – had to, had to.”
She said the gunshot wound, below the victim’s breast, was not immediately visible and it looked like she was “having a fit”.
“I put her on her side and I was just rubbing her back, saying ‘everything’s going to be OK’. I just can’t believe it – so young. It’s ridiculous now.”
The woman said the victim was not responding, but added: “I could see she was looking at me.”
She told how the girl’s mother arrived before paramedics, adding: “She was screaming. She didn’t know what to do.”
It only became clear the 17-year-old had been shot when the paramedics took her bra off. “She didn’t deserve that. Her mum didn’t deserve to watch her die,” she said.
She described the victim as a “good girl”, adding: “She was so lovely.”
So far this year the Metropolitan Police has launched 47 murder inquiries – eight in January, 15 in February, 22 in March and two in April.
In the whole of last year there were 130 murders in London. The number of killings reached a peak around June before dropping again in the second half of the year.
A cab driver who ran towards danger to help the girl moments after she was shot said terrified residents of the Northumberland Park Estate were in the middle of a ‘war’.
The cab driver, 29, who refused to give his name, said: “It is a war here, this is not the first time there has been a shooting.
‘Her friends came in screaming and I said what is going on?
‘I ran over and she was trying to breathe, it was awful.’
In Tottenham, one witness, who works in a nearby shop, said he heard three bangs which sounded like fireworks.
He said he saw the victim sat with friends following the shooting before police cars and ambulances arrived. He also saw blood on the right side of the 17-year-old’s chest.
Another neighbour described the murder as “very sad”.
“I heard the bangs because I sleep in the front room,” she said. “I thought it was a bomb.”
Describing the area, she added: “It’s not nice – so many drugs, stabbings, cycles up and down – no respect for people any more.”
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said he is “deeply worried” about what is happening in the area.
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He told the BBC: “There is no single cause, but there has been a big spike in both gun crime and knife crime across London.
“Certainly my constituency finds itself at the epicentre of that. there are real issues about a lack of resources.”
Following the shooting, Tottenham-raised rapper Wretch32, whose real name is Jermaine Scott Sinclair, tweeted: “Wish I knew what to say about what’s happening in my ends.
“North London were better then this man smh R.I.P to the young angel who lost her life last night. love & prayers to the family. I’m honestly lost for words.”
Wish I knew what to say about what’s happening in my ends North London were better then this man smh R.I.P to the young angel who lost her life last nightlove & prayers to the family. I’m honestly lost for words
— FR32 (@Wretch32) April 3, 2018
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy tweeted: “Walthamstow – can confirm tonight we have had another serious incident involving shooting and stabbing.
“Appreciate this is very distressing – I will share more information as and when have it from official sources as only want to share what is confirmed.”
In a third incident, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed near St Leonard’s Street in Bow, east London, at around 6pm on Sunday. He was given first aid and is in a stable condition in hospital.
Four boys – two aged 16 and two aged 15 – have been charged with GBH and appeared at Stratford Youth Court on Tuesday.
Walthamstow – can confirm tonight we have had another serious incident involving shooting and stabbing. Appreciate this is very distressing- I will share more information as and when have it from official sources as only want to share what is confirmed.
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) April 2, 2018
Monday’s attacks come amid concerns over rising violent crime in the capital.
On Sunday a 20-year-old man was the 31st person to be stabbed to death in London so far this year.
He was fatally knifed moments after leaving a bar in Wandsworth and died in the street.
On Thursday, the family of Abraham Badru, 26, who was shot dead in Hackney, east London, on March 25 warned that “gun culture is becoming rampant in our community”.
There have been five fatal shootings in London so far in 2018.
The latest incidents will bring fresh scrutiny on the Government’s efforts to halt rising levels of violent crime around the country.
Figures published in January showed police recorded 37,443 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year ending September 2017 – a 21% increase compared with the previous year and the highest tally since comparable records started in the 12 months to March 2011.
Gun-related crime also went up by a fifth year-on-year, to 6,694 recorded offences.
Ministers point to findings from the separate crime survey which show overall offending is going down over the long-term.
But they have acknowledged that some of the increase in police-recorded violent crime is “genuine”.
In the coming weeks the Home Office will publish a serious violence strategy, which it says will place a “new emphasis” on steering young people away from crime.
Proposed measures include a “two strikes” regime, meaning criminals caught with corrosive substances twice will automatically face a prison sentence of at least six months, and a tightening of rules covering online sales of knives.
The recent spate of violence has prompted scrutiny of a sharp reduction in stop and search activity, with use of the powers at the lowest level since current data records started 17 years ago.
Stop and search has repeatedly attracted controversy, with criticism focusing mainly on the number of stops of black and minority ethnic individuals.
Reforms were introduced in 2014 by then-home secretary Theresa May to ensure the tactic was used in a more targeted way.
The latest killings coincide with a report by the Sunday Times newspaper which said the murder rate in London is higher than in New York.
It said 15 people were murdered in London in February, compared to 14 in New York during the same month.
The number of murders in London has risen 38% since 2014, while killings in New York have dropped over the past number of years to record lows.