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Rosemary Gardens violence: Huge brawl and 'knife brandished' on park's football pitch

PUBLISHED: 11:37 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:37 23 April 2018

A police cordon at Rosemary Gardens after a stabbing on Thursday. There was also a brawl in the park yesterday afternoon. Picture: Pat Venditti

A police cordon at Rosemary Gardens after a stabbing on Thursday. There was also a brawl in the park yesterday afternoon. Picture: Pat Venditti

Pat Venditti

A parent has called for greater police presence in troubled Rosemary Gardens after a huge brawl yesterday afternoon.

Just after 4pm, a fight broke out on the park’s football pitch. At least one knife was said to have been brandished.

It followed Thursday night’s stabbing in the park, where a 24-year-old man was knifed. He was taken to hospital and was in a stable condition.

A mum, who didn’t want to be named, witnessed yesterday’s violence while in the play park. She told the Gazette: “There were 20-odd youths who had been playing football and a fight broke out.

“It wasn’t just a punch-up. They were swarming.

“It escalated away from the football pitch and my husband said: ‘He’s got a knife.’ It was like a kitchen knife, about six or seven inches.”

She continued: “All of a sudden, there were also kids on bikes coming in and getting involved. The police arrived five or six minutes later, but as soon as they heard sirens, they were gone.

“It was very scary. As soon as it happened we took the children away from the park. It ruined the day.

“It was hot weather, but some of these kids were wearing puffa jackets, balaclavas and hoodies. You just don’t know who’s got what.

“I just feel sorry for them, growing up in a world where it’s just constant violence. I’m sick and tired of it.”

The mum, who said she fears returning to the Southgate Road park, added: “It’s not the first time people have been stabbed there, and police have also found weapons.

“The authorities have a duty to police that park better because at the moment, people are getting away with it. The park rangers have no clout and in any case, won’t want to potentially risk their lives.”

No arrests have been made relating to yesterday’s brawl and Thursday’s stabbing.

The Gazette has approached Islington Police for comment on the latest incidents.

As reported in the Gazette in May last year, a weapon sweep of Rosemary Gardens, led by police officers and George Kinsella – dad of knife murder victim Ben – found a flick knife and screwdriver stashed away in undergrowth.

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