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Highbury stab death shows ‘alarming’ change in gang violence

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 June 2014 | UPDATED: 17:17 18 June 2014

Ryan Gray

Ryan Gray

Archant

Violent youths killing each other on the borough’s streets have no fear of the consequences, the town hall’s crime chief has said.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said Islington was witnessing an “alarming” change in the way young gang members settled their “disputes” after 24-year-old father Ryan Gray was stabbed to death in Highbury.

A murder investigation was launched on Sunday when Mr Gray of Finsbury Park died of injuries sustained in an attack in broad daylight off Drayton Park at about 2.30pm on June 4.

The incident was the fourth case of serious youth violence on the borough’s busy streets in three months, following two armed fights on Upper Street and a shooting in Essex Road.

Cllr Convery said: “What alarms me and the public is that there seems to have been a change in the way some of these young criminals settle their disputes.

“Not only are they ignoring the potentially fatal consequences to those they attack, they don’t even seem to care what happens to themselves.”

Tributes poured in for Mr Gray, who had a young son, on social media websites following his death on Sunday.

Chloe Williams (@ChaserNunes) tweeted “rip u were such a talented person, will be loved and missed” on June 9.

Mr Gray’s friend posted on Facebook, under the alias DJ Ezy D, saying: “So full of life, such high ambitions, the only person I know that had the strong desire to succeed as much as I do.”

Cllr Convery said that the council and police would focus efforts on reaching children in schools as early as possible, to prevent them turning to a life of crime.

He said: “We can at the very least stop another generation, we are responsible for the youth offenders services. We have to turn off the tab before it becomes a flood.”

A 17-year-old youth from Finsbury Park has been charged with murder following Mr Gray’s death and appeared at the Old Bailey yesterday (Wednesday).

Two more men, a 19-year-old from Hackney and a 21-year-old from Highbury have also been charged with murder and will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates today.

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