The devastated family of the teenage boy murdered in Croydon rushed to be by their son’s side shortly after he was stabbed to death in the street, witnesses have told.
The 17-year-old was knifed on a shopping street in south London on Sunday evening and was pronounced dead at the scene before paramedics could arrive.
Another teenager, also 17, told the Standard they saw the boy’s parents arrive at the scene, next to the Whitgift shopping centre, to find their son stabbed in the street.
The witness said the murder, which marks the 15th teen stabbed to death on the capital’s streets this year, was an indication of the “terrifying” reality of knife crime in London.
“I saw his poor mother and father arrive to find their son stabbed to death by a shopping centre,” they said. “That is someone’s son and there is another person whose friend has been killed. What can be done?
“My dad tells me every day to not link with the wrong crowd but a lot of people carry knives around here for their own protection.
“They know what happens in this town if they aren’t carrying a weapon.
“If you don’t strike first it could be you who gets killed. My friends carry knives and I don’t blame them. I can only say ‘be careful’ when they go out.
“You are constantly looking over your shoulder it’s terrifying. This is what Croydon is now.
“We can’t change this ourselves we are just kids we need support from older people. The scary thing is it could’ve been me.”
Police were called to the normally busy street, where there are plans to build a £1.4billion Westfield shopping centre, at about 7pm on Sunday where they found the boy with serious stab wounds.
The teenager’s body lay under a tent close to McDonald’s and Costa Coffee as forensics swept the street looking for clues.
Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to tackle the knife crime “epidemic” as a priority.
In a post on social media she wrote: “Time and time again we’ve said ‘enough is enough’ as knife crime has doubled in a year. Well over one thousand young people were stabbed in London last year.
“Now, we demand action, not words. I’ve been pushing the Home Secretary to prioritise this epidemic amongst our young. It can’t be fixed with short-term thinking.
“We need a ten year, cross-government strategy tying together policing and justice with an equally important focus on early stage interventions and community support.
“But tonight, in Croydon, I am praying for a life lost, a family devastated, and a community in shock.”
It is understood the businesses in the street were already closed for trading when the murder took place last night.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should call police on 101 or by tweeting @MetCC. To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.