stabbing of Fares Maatou (r) in East Ham
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The 18-year-old, known as Junior Jah, suffered fatal knife wounds after being attacked yesterday afternoon in Coolfin Road, Canning Town, only yards from his home.
His death follows the fatal stabbing on Friday of 14-year-old Fares Maatou in East Ham and came on the same day as two other teenagers, one aged 17 and another aged 18, also suffered stab injuries in east London.
The latest death takes the number of teenage knife killings in London this year to 12, just three short of the 15 in 2020 — and on course to overtake the figure of 26 recorded in 2019.
In a further twist, it also emerged today that Junior Jah, described by his aunt Yvette Goodhew as a “beautiful, quiet boy”, is the younger brother of Ahmed Jah, a 21-year-old Londoner knifed to death in Canning Town in 2017 while buying a drink from his local shop.
“The family are heartbroken. They are devastated, they have lost two sons to knife violence,” Mrs Goodhew told the Standard.
“Junior was a sweet, humble, lovely boy. He loved his family, loved life. He was really into football. It is so cruel what has happened. We have to stop young people carrying knives.” She said the brothers have two sisters who are struggling to come to terms with their loss and added: “The whole family are asking why this has happened to them.
“We have no idea why Junior was attacked, we need answers. He died outside his home where he should have been safe.”
Junior is understood to be a nickname. Today a police investigation into his killing continued with a cordon sealing off the crime scene and the victim’s family home.
A floral tribute was laid nearby and a woman, whose son had gone to school with Junior, described him as “a lovely, humble lad”. She added: “He was heartbroken when his brother died.”
Police were called at 2.45pm yesterday to reports of a man having being stabbed in Coolfin Road.
Officers and ambulance staff tried to save the victim but he was pronounced dead at the scene. A young man was seen with his head in his hands, crying on a kerb next to the crime scene.
Scotland Yard responded by putting a Section 60 order, allowing stop and search without suspicion, in place for the whole of Newham until the early hours of this morning in an effort to prevent any further violence.
No arrests have been made so far and police appealed for witnesses to come forward.
Junior’s death follows the killing of his older brother Ahmed four years ago when he was stabbed in the chest in an off-licence less than 50 yards from the family home. His father warned at the time that “young people need to put down their knives and stop the violence” because stabbings were “destroying families and communities”.
Junior’s death was also followed by two other stabbings in east London with police called at about 3.30pm to Poplar after reports that a 17-year-old male had suffered stab injuries.
Minutes later, at 3.40pm, officers were also sent to Redbridge where an 18-year-old boy was found with leg injuries from a knife wound.
Neither of these stabbings is thought to be linked to yesterday’s killing but the incidents will again raise concerns about the level of knife crime in the capital after the knifing of two teenage girls in Norwood, south London, on Sunday and the spate of teenage blade homicides.
Many of those arrested have also been teenagers, with the Met warning that gang tensions have festered during lockdown providing a further source of concern as restrictions ease to put more people on the streets.
The violence has also become a focus of London’s mayoral election with voting now less than a fortnight away on May 6 with Mayor Sadiq Khan under attack for what his opponents allege is his failure to do enough to stem the bloodshed.
Tory rival Shaun Bailey has warned of a “crime epidemic in London” and promised to recruit 8,000 more police officers and 4,000 extra youth workers as part of “a fresh start” for the capital.
Mr Khan has defended his record, blaming government cuts and under-funding for contributing to the problem, while insisting that his adoption of a public health approach and hiring of extra police will achieve results.
Yesterday the father of a teenager who died after being stabbed in Ilford in November 2019 spoke out against the violence.
Imran Mirza, whose son Mohammed, 19, was brought up in the same area as Fares Maatou, said: “I can tell you that nothing has changed since my son died and, if anything, things are worse.
“These boys are becoming desensitised to violence. In the schools they need to teach them some humanity at an early age. I’ve done the best I can but the streets are so dangerous. The kids are living in fear, more action is needed at all levels.”
The mother of Sven Badzak, 22, who was fatally stabbed in Kilburn, north-west London, on February 16, said: “The level of violence and particularly knife crime is a stain on the once great city of London.”
Jasna Badzak told the Standard: “Enough is enough, parents should not have to go through what I have suffered.
“I think action at a national level is needed as the law needs to be changed so that anyone caught in possession of a knife receives an immediate long jail sentence.”