Peckham murder: First picture of 'gentle soul' Bilal Kargbo stabbed to death as best friend tried to stop fight

Hatty Collier, Tom Powell
Good friends: Bilal Kargbo, left, died in front of Alim Komora who he had known since he was 11: Alim Komora

A young man died in front of his best friend after being stabbed in the stomach following a fight in south London.

Bilal Kargbo, 26, became the sixth knife crime fatality in London in one week when he died on Friday afternoon.

His friend Alim Komora told the Standard how he had seen Bilal arguing with another man on Peckham Rye and immediately rushed over to separate them.

He said: “I saw him from the back and I came straight up to them and tried to separate them. They were so close and they were squaring up to each other.

“I was pushing them both in the chest and I said ‘you guys are not fighting’.”

The scene outside Peckham Rye station (Craig Thomas)

“Next thing I know the guy took out a knife and just stabbed him. It happened so quickly I didn’t even have time to ask why they were arguing.”

Mr Komora said that immediately after he was stabbed, a passing bus driver came over and put clothes around the wound to try to stem the flow of blood.

“I was just there trying to speak to him but he was not answering me at all," added the self-employed decorator.

He met Bilal, originally from Sierra Leone, when they were both students at Walworth School (now Walworth Academy) on Old Kent Road.

“There is nothing bad that I can say about him,” added Mr Komora, who shared a moving picture of the pair on Facebook taken seconds from the scene of the stabbing exactly two years ago.

Southwark Councillor Michael Situ told the Standard: "It's sad that we are here right again and it's becoming far too many across the city as a whole.

"We need a renewed effort right from centrally to the boroughs to look at how we can put an end to this.

"Yet another man young man has lost his life which has caused quite a lot of pain to his close relatives and to the community at large."

The David Idowu foundation, a group which works to reduce knife crime by educating children and adults, tweeted in response to the councillor: “Thank you for joining us at the vigil for Bilal who sadly lost his life to knife crime yesterday in Peckham. May his soul RIP.”

A vigil was set to be held at the scene on Monday evening, while many also took to social media to pay tribute to a man described as a "gentle soul".

Mohamed Sheriff wrote on Facebook: "I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET APRIL 28. 3.51pm. THE DAY I LOST MY BROTHER OVER SOME B******." He later added: "My partner and brother is gone left me but will always be with me spiritually..."

Following the stabbing, local business owners were heard screaming and crying as they ran into the street to try and save the victim.

The man was stabbed outside the station. (Chad O'Carroll)

Paramedics and police officers rushed to the scene but Bilal could not be saved and he was pronounced dead at 3.15pm.

One local resident, called Laura, told the Standard she was in the kitchen at the back of her flat when she heard a bang “and women from the salons screaming”.

She said: “My flat looks out on Blenheim Grove, the man fell across the road from me.

"I heard a bang which I think was the man falling into one of the metal shutters.

"I could just see lots of women in the road screaming. There are six salons in the road all next to each other.

Killed: A man in his 20s was stabbed to death. (Chad O'Carroll)

"It was more the screaming which drew me to the window. They were all in the road screaming and crying.”

As commuters poured out of Peckham Rye station they were met with a massive police cordon as officers and police cars blocked the road at the corner with Blenheim Grove.

A swathe of road was taped off by police as officers directed people around the crime scene.

DCI Dave Whellams said later that evening: "We are still trying to piece together the events that led to the victim tragically losing his life. At this early stage we believe he was involved in an altercation with another person prior to being stabbed.

“The incident drew a large crowd of onlookers who were on the street and in shops nearby at the time the incident happened. We are aware that a number of members of the public were filming the incident on their mobile phones and I would like to appeal directly to any of those people that have recorded footage to contact the police as soon as possible.”

On Monday, a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. Both are in custody.

Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8785 8244 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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