Notting Hill Carnival: Rapper and father-to-be Takayo Nembhard named as stabbing victim

·7-min read
Notting Hill Carnival: Rapper and father-to-be Takayo Nembhard named as stabbing victim

Police are hunting the killers of a rapper and expectant father who was stabbed to death at the Notting Hill Carnival.

Takayo Nembhard, 21, was knifed under the Westway flyover close to Ladbroke Grove station at around 8pm on Monday with hundreds of people nearby.

Police and paramedics gave him emergency treatment at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead despite further efforts to save him.

The musican, who used the moniker TKorStretch, had travelled from Bristol to enjoy the annual event that saw millions attend over the Bank Holiday.

An man stabbed to death at the Notting Hill Carnival on Monday was Takayo Nembhard, a rapper from Bristol, his manager said. (PA Wire)
An man stabbed to death at the Notting Hill Carnival on Monday was Takayo Nembhard, a rapper from Bristol, his manager said. (PA Wire)

Mr Nembhard had posted videos buying ice lollies and juice to satisfy the pregnancy cravings of his girlfriend.

In an Instagram post, she wrote: “Takayo my sweet beautiful boy. All I can ask is why over and over again. You were the most kindhearted, loving, funny and caring person. I’m sat here with sore eyes and a heavy heart as I’ve cried consistently for the last 12 hours while carrying your unborn son.

“I will remind him daily about how great you were as a son, brother, boyfriend and friend too! The love I have for you will never stop and I will honour your name every day.”

His manager Chris Patrick, based in south London, paid tribute saying: “He went to Carnival with his younger sister and friends to have a good time.

“This is the worst possible ending for a talented kid.”

On Twitter he wrote: “Talent was endless, he was close to greatness!

“With a heavy heart I bring the news that TKorStretch passed away last night.

“My deepest condolences to TK’s family. He was a good kid, what happened breaks my heart.

“Rest in peace my friend.”

Mr Nembhard, whose tracks include Flamenco Dance and Woah, have attracted more than a million views on YouTube. He had more than 300,000 plays on one of his songs on Spotify, and nearly 11,000 monthly listeners.

Days before his tragic death Mr Nembhard posted videos buying ice lollies and juice to satisfy the pregnancy cravings of his girlfriend.

Mr Nembhard was a former youth team player at Bristol Rovers but had to quit football when he got a blood clot in his leg aged 16.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said on Tuesday: “I am sickened by this awful attack. Violence has no place on our streets and we are doing everything in our power to root it out.”

One person who was at the scene described how the party atmosphere at the Carnival — which was returning after a two year absence because of the Covid pandemic — changed abruptly when the killing took place.

“It all happened out of nowhere, one minute everyone was happy and chatting then it was carnage. There was blood everywhere and a guy on the floor,” he said.

A woman who owns a house near the scene said: “There was screaming and then hordes of people running up the road. The whole crowd was panicking. It was horrible, just pure panic on their faces.”

Another resident said: “I looked out my window and a bloke was on ground. People were running in all directions. It was total panic. People were running away from the scene while police were running towards the man. They started working on him to try to save him.”

Video footage of the scene posted on social media showed police trying to save the victim as he lay bleeding on the pavement.

One onlooker shouts, “Someone’s been stabbed” as large numbers of police arrive and encircle him to allow emergency treatment to be administered.

Witness Brian Stovell told The Standard: “I knew by the amount of blood that he wasn’t going to make it.

“Most people in the crowd were caught up in the movement and vibe of the carnival.”

He said two women were amongst the officers trying to save him: “There was one woman putting on surgical gloves but she was a civilian. And another woman in distress was in the circle - it looked like she had been with him.”

Forensics officers at the scene in Ladbroke Grove (PA)
Forensics officers at the scene in Ladbroke Grove (PA)

Mr Nembhard told TnZ podcast in February about the injury that ended his promising football career.

He said: “I had just scored was running back to the centre of the pitch.

“I felt a sharp pain in the back of my knee. I tried to run it off but it wasn’t going. I tried icing it up.

“Within three days my leg was swollen up bad. I didn’t know what it was for nine months.

“I think about it all the time. I’m trying to get back into football now.”

He said he got into rapping with his teammates on long coach journeys to football matches in London. He said his nickname has been TK since Year 6 or Stretch because he was tall so he chose the rap name - TKorStretch.

He added: “I prefer singing, that is the best. I like the melodies it’s more fun.”

Benzino, a close friend told The Standard: “He was a proper kid everyone knows him round here. He was one of my youngers he is from my area.

“It’s sad but it’s life. It happens.

“He was just starting off with his music. He loved football too.

“I spoke to him last week at KFC he was good, he was chilling with his boys.

“He had his music and his kid coming he was so excited.”

Another close friend and fellow musician said: “Tk was the most sweet and kind boy. I’m so sure he was about to make it. He was so excited to be a dad and he was excited to do matching outfits and stuff.

“He got on with everyone because he had a good heart.”

Five friends of the murdered rapper paid an emotional tribute at the crime scene, laying a bunch of flowers in silence beside the police corden and saying a prayer.

A note attached to the flowers said: "Farewell my brother, you always been family to me from young. Still stunned that you are gone. You and your music will live on forever.

"RIP TK, love from Trenal."

A police statement said: “At around 8pm on Monday, August 29 officers became aware of a stabbing in Ladbroke Grove, under the Westway flyover.

“Officers provided emergency first aid to the victim – a 21-year-old man – until the arrival of London Ambulance Service paramedics.

“They were able to extract him through significant crowds in challenging circumstances to a waiting ambulance.

“He was taken to a west London hospital where, despite the best efforts of medical staff, he was pronounced dead.

“His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.”

Dr Alison Heydari, Commander of Local Policing, said: “A murder investigation is under way, led by homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

“They will pursue every possible line of enquiry to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

“There were hundreds of people in the immediate vicinity when this incident took place.

“I would urge anyone who saw anything, who has video footage or who has any other information that could assist officers, to come forward.”

Anyone with information can contact the police directly on 101 providing the reference 7478/29AUG.

Information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

The Met said that it had worked “tirelessly” with the organisers, the local council and community, and other emergency services to try to ensure a peaceful Carnival.

It said, however, that 209 arrests had so far been made for other offences, including 33 people held for possession of an offensive weapon, eight for sexual assaults, and a further 46 for other assaults.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said 34 officers had been among those assaulted during the Carnival.

- On Tuesday night, the force released an additional appeal for video footage of the alleged murder - and confirmed there had still been no arrests.

Detective inspector James Shirley, who is leading the investigation, said: “I know that there were several hundred people in the immediate area surrounding the murder and while the carnival environment made the management of and access to the scene difficult, it also meant that there were likely to have been a number of witnesses.

“If you saw anything, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please do get in touch.”