A boy of 15 was stabbed to death when a mass brawl broke out as around 200 teenagers were leaving a 16th birthday party at a community centre.
The schoolboy, named locally as Jordan Douherty, was knifed after a large group of youths were turned away from the party because the venue was at full capacity.
Shocked friends of the victim were heard screaming and crying, ‘They’ve killed my best friend’, after the boy collapsed around 9 pm on Saturday.
Police and paramedics arrived to find up to 200 teenagers running and screaming in panic as the 15-year-old lay in the street in Romford, east London. One resident who gave her name only as Ellie said: ‘There were two or three boys screaming, “He’s not moving, he’s dead.”
‘There was a big group on the corner with just the boy on the floor. There were paramedics doing shocks and CPR on him for quite a while. After he was just lying there with a white sheet over him, it was covered in blood.’
Another neighbour, who gave her name only as Carol, said: ‘It was chaos out here. Around 9.20pm I heard a lot of noise going on. For some reason it didn’t sound right.
‘Then I heard a lad crying down the phone “he’s dead, he’s dead”. He was laying down in the road, there was a lot of blood. The police were working on him, they tried their absolute damnedest with that boy last night. Nobody should die like that.’
She described seeing groups of young men ‘scattering’ moments after the stabbing.
The stabbing is the latest in an unprecedented number of killings in London this year. The Metropolitan Police is investigating more than 75 homicides since the start of the year. There have been nearly 1,300 stabbings since January amid reports of a surge in violence crime across the country.
Yesterday locals suggested the brawl started when a large group of youths were refused entry to the party and they started trading insults outside North Romford Community Centre.
Violence flared when some of the group armed with sticks started hitting each other, with others fled in horror. In the stampede, a bus driver thought to have been hired to take the children back home from the party, received a head injury after closing his doors because the bus was full.
He was injured as the yobs outside started punching the doors and flooded inside.
One witness, machine operator Laila Ceksdere, 25, said: ‘The young people were attacking nearly everyone, there were almost 200 of them in the street. The bus was full and the driver shut the door and they just started punching the doors it was pretty terrible. Some of the young guys had sticks and they were running up and down and attacking. How can these people go to a birthday party with knives in their pocket?’
Three teenage boys were arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken for questioning at different police stations in east London.
Following the death, London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter: ‘Anyone involved in this tragic incident will swiftly face the full force of the law.
‘Violent crime is rising across our country and these senseless deaths are devastating families and communities, causing pain, loss and fear. These appalling crimes will not be tolerated.’