As we enter 2022 we have no choice but to reflect.
I have documented the vast majority of knife attacks in London in 2021 and worked closely with friends and families to ensure stories are told respectfully. Sadly in one day alone two days before the year finished, records were surpassed and 2 teenagers have been stabbed to death in London and the victim of a fatal stabbing in Croydon has been identified as detectives continue to appeal for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward. The victim has been confirmed as Zaian Aimable-Lina, 15, who was from the local area. His family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
Detectives launched a murder investigation after police were made aware of an assault in Ashburton Park, Croydon; shortly after 19:00hrs on Thursday, 30 December, Officers attended and found 15-year-old Zaian suffering from stab injuries. Officers immediately provided first aid prior to the arrival of the London Ambulance Service. Despite their efforts, he was pronounced dead at the scene at 19:36hrs.
On Friday, 31 December, a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder on the afternoon of Friday, 31 December. He was taken to a south London police station and later released on bail to a date in late January. A post-mortem examination was held on Saturday, 1 January and gave cause of death as a stab wound to the heart. Detectives from the Specialist Crime Command investigate, led by Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard. He said: “My thoughts continue to be with Zaian’s family and friends as they cope with this tragic loss. My team are continuing to work around the clock so that we can give Zaian’s family the answers they deserve.
“Zaian’s death has sent shockwaves through the local community and London as a whole. He was just 15- years-old and had his whole life ahead of him and we need the community to work with us to bring those responsible to justice. No matter how insignificant you may think it, if you have information that can help, you must do the right thing and contact us immediately.” Superintendent Dan Knowles, of the South Area Command Unit, which polices Croydon, said: “This tragic loss of a young life on our streets has rightly and understandably caused considerable concern among the local community.
“Our colleagues in Specialist Crime are continuing their investigation and my officers are carrying out enhanced patrols in the local area. I urge anyone who can help us to approach those officers and tell us what you know.”
A 16-year-old boy has died after being stabbed in west London, making him the 30th teenage homicide in the capital in 2021, surpassing a peak of 29 in 2008. The fatal stabbing on Thursday evening happened shortly after a 15-year-old boy was also found fatally wounded in Ashburton Park, Croydon, south London. A boy, 15, has been held on suspicion of murder over the Croydon stabbing.
The 16-year-old victim was found by police and paramedics with a stab wound in Hillingdon but he died at the scene. He was found at Philpots Farm Open Space, close to Heather Lane in Yiewsley, at 19:30 GMT, about half an hour after the first stabbing. No arrests have yet been made in connection with the Hillingdon incident but officers have opened a murder inquiry. A post-mortem examination would “be held in due course”, the Met said.
He was given first aid by officers before paramedics arrived but died at the scene. The Met said his family had been informed and that a post-mortem examination would take place on Saturday. The arrested 15-year-old boy remains in police custody. Of the 30 teenage homicides in the capital this year, 27 of them have been stabbings while two have been shootings and one was the result of a suspected arson attack.
More than 40 teenagers in the capital have also been charged with murder during 2021. Speaking from the scene in Croydon, Met Police Cdr Alex Murray said: “My message today, other than speaking to the families and friends of those that London has lost, is to say you cannot carry knives in London. “This is what happens when knives are carried and we all have a role in relation to tackling knife crime.” He also had a direct message to parents, saying:
“If you have concerns, talk to your kids. “
Make sure they’re not carrying knives, make sure they’re not hanging around with kids carrying knives The Metropolitan Police has opened 122 murder investigations in London this year, of which 79 are stabbings. Violent crime is down generally, but not when it comes to young people under the age of 18 in London. For the numbers of teenage homicides to have exceeded the previous high in 2008 will put new pressure on the Met.
To understand why it is happening, the government decided in the summer to increase the number of ‘serious case reviews’ of murder and manslaughter cases, especially in London. No results have yet been published, but there are well known issues, and new developments. Police say that disagreements between people on social media result in real-life violence.
They also blame the trend towards drugs being sold by “county lines” gangs who target vulnerable young people to involve them in the trade. However, these have been trends for years and don’t necessarily explain the latest surge.
Covid lockdowns, the closure of youth services and young people not being in school may be more relevant factors that have added additional chaos to troubled young lives, increasing their risk of being in violent situations. Cdr Murray told the BBC that violent crime in London was down overall “but for teenagers it’s not, our teenage homicide rate is tragically high”.
He said he believed the increase was due to a combination of teenagers believing it was acceptable to carry knives, people “encouraging fight-back” between groups on social media, and children getting involved in county lines and drug dealing.
“Those three things are probably intersecting to create the peak in homicides in the capital,” he explained. Responding to the two killings, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the safety of Londoners “will always be my number one priority”, before adding he was “investing record amounts in policing to put more officers on the streets”.
He said he thought the rise in knife crime among teenagers was “because we’re having a lot of breakdowns in schools, in education, young people are being excluded too quickly, some for minor incidents, there’s breakdown in the homes”. “Parents, if you see a bread knife or bun knife missing from the home, please speak to somebody, please contact an agency or an organisation and let the teachers know,” Mr King added.
London’s teenage victims of homicide in 2021
- 19 January: Anas Mezenner, 17, was found with stab wounds in West Green Road, Haringey
- 25 January: Romario Opia, 15, was discovered stabbed in Holland Walk, Islington
- 11 February: Hani Solomon, 18, was found stabbed after police were called over reports of a fight between two groups of men in Ackmar Road, Fulham
- 18 February: Drekwon Patterson, 16, was stabbed in Preston Road, Brent
- 26 February: Ahmed Beker, 19, was stabbed in Paddington Green, near Edgware Road
- 3 March: Tai Jordan O’Donnell, 19, was stabbed inside a house in Alpha Road, Croydon
- 6 March: Mazaza Owusu-Mensah, 18, was stabbed during a fight in Edington Road, Abbey Wood
- 6 March: Ezra Okobia, 14, was fatally injured by fumes from a fire at his home in Russett Way, Lewisham. His five-year-old brother Joseph Okobia and mother Victoria Amaning, 34, also died after inhaling fumes. Police believe Ms Amaning started the blaze
- 8 March: Nikolay Vandev, 19, was stabbed in Penshurst Road, Tottenham
- 17 March: Hussain Chaudhry, 18, was stabbed in Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow
- 10 April: Levi Ernest-Morrison, 17, was stabbed in Sydenham Road, Sydenham
- 23 April: Fares Maatou, 14, was stabbed in Barking Road, Newham
- 26 April: Abubakkar “Junior” Jah, 18, was found fatally wounded in Coolfin Road, Newham, having been shot and stabbed
- 7 May: Daniel Laskos, 16, was stabbed in Church Road, Harold Wood, during a fight
- 8 June: Taylor Cox, 19, was shot in Hornsey Rise Gardens, Islington
- 10 June: Denardo Samuels-Brooks, 17, was stabbed in Prentis Road, Streatham
- 11 June: Jalan Woods-Bell, 15, was stabbed in a fight in Blyth Road, Hayes
- 25 June: Tashawn Watt, 19, was stabbed in Miall Walk, Sydenham
- 1 July: Camron Smith, 16, was stabbed in Bracken Avenue, Shrublands, Croydon
- 5 July: Tamim Ian Habimana, 15, was stabbed in Woolwich
- Stabbings set grim record for London teen killings
- 5 July: Keane Flynn-Harling, 16, was stabbed in Oval Place, near Vauxhall
- 9 July: Damarie Omare Roye, 16, was stabbed in Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath
- 1 August: Stelios Averkiou, 16, was stabbed at a skate park in Lordship Recreation Ground, Tottenham
- 1 September: Alex Ajanaku, 18, was found with shotgun wounds in Beaumont Road, Leyton
- 12 October: Hazrat Wali, 18, was stabbed to death in a playing field in Craneford Way, Twickenham
- 28 October: Kamran Khalid, 18, was stabbed to death in Harrow Road, Ilford
- 18 November: Jermaine Cools, 14, was stabbed in London Road, Croydon
- 24 November: Rishmeet Singh, 16, was found with fatal stabbed in Raleigh Road, Southall
- 30 December: A 15-year-old was found fatally stabbed in Ashburton Park, Croydon
- 30 December: A 16-year-old was stabbed to death in Philpot’s Farm Open Space in Yiewsley, Hillingdon
These murders follow on from the south London murder of 27 year old Jobari Gooden just before Christmas. This shows that knife crime isnt just isolated to teenagers, in the latest update three people appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court on Monday, 27 December in connection with the murder of Jobari Gooden at Peckham Rye on Friday, 17 December.
[A] Momodou Lamin Faal, 27 (19.01.94) of Lyndhurst Way, Peckham appeared charged with murder. [B] Olushola Eletu, 39 (11.09.82) (address not confirmed) and [C] Elishah Anderson, 39 (02.05.82) of Lettsom Street, Peckham appeared charged with perverting the course of justice. All three were remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, 30 December. Jobari was fatally stabbed on Friday 17 December in the Peckham Rye area. His family continue to be supported by specially trained officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.
Crimestoppers offered £20,000 for information related to the murder of Jobari Gooden in Peckham. Police have also released footage of a person they would like to speak to as part of their investigation. The individual is described as a Black male, wearing grey trousers, black shoes and a dark jacket with distinctive orange writing on the left hand side of the chest and across the upper back. Jobari was murdered on Friday 17 December in Peckham Rye Area in broad daylight.
Officers responded to reports of a male being stabbed outside House of Ramish 2 Barbers on Choumert Road, SE15 at around 15:15hrs last Friday. 27-year-old Jobari Gooden was found on Rye Lane with stab wounds. He was taken to hospital where he later died. The entire incident took place in the middle of a parade of shops in the afternoon, and detectives understand that there were a significant number of witnesses. In a bid to encourage more reporting, the independent charity Crimestoppers UK have announced that they will be supporting the investigation by offering £20,000 to anyone who can share information related to the murder which leads to a conviction. Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “Our priority here is finding the person or persons responsible for Jobari’s death, and to support his family.