Postcode war fears in Islington after random stabbings
THERE are fears that postcode wars are coming to Islington after two savage knife attacks by gangs on bikes who targeted innocent victims purely because of where they live.
In both incidents, young victims were lucky to escape with their lives after they were stabbed by groups of thugs who asked them where they were from.
A 16-year-old sixth form pupil was left with internal bleeding after he was knifed twice in the liver on March 23 by a five-strong gang who rode onto the football pitch where he was playing.
Police initially believed the motive was robbery, but witnesses say the attackers blocked the entrance to the pitch before asking if he was from round there and stabbing him. The attackers then knifed another of his friends and stole his phone, as well as that of a third boy. Sickeningly, the thugs then found the phone number of the third victim’s mum on his phone and called her to gloat about the stabbings.
Five days later on March 28, a 20-year-old was knifed four times by a gang intent on doing serious damage to someone from the Finsbury Park area. The victim was walking home from a friend’s house through Wray Crescent open space, off Thorpedale Road, when he was surrounded by five youth on bikes. They asked him where he was from, and when he replied “round here” they chased him into Corbyn Street and knifed him repeatedly.
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A relative of the victim, who asked not to be named, said: “He doesn’t know who they are or why they attacked him. He was walking home through when they ambushed him. They asked where he was from then slipped out knives and he just ran, but they caught him and stabbed him. He’s not a troublemaker at all. These guys were obviously just waiting to stab anyone from the area who walked by.”
Detective Chief inspector Steve Wallace, who is responsible for tackling violent crime in Islington, said: “This level of violence is obviously very worrying but we don’t have an organised gang problem in Islington. We had one gang involved in drug dealing and violence in the Grimaldi Park area of King’s Cross about six months ago but we dealt with that.
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“These latest incidents seem to involve smaller pockets of youths on bikes, and are alarming because they happened in such a small period of time - but we are doing things to combat this.”
“We are visiting the homes of known troublemakers, talking to their parents and advising them on the dangers of carrying knives. We are conducting knife sweeps on estates, searching cubby holes and hedgerows where weapons are usually hidden. And are using our stop and search powers.
“The truth is that serious youth violence is going down in Islington.”
No-one has yet been arrested in connection with the stabbings, or a third by a knifeman on a bike in Sparsholt Road, Upper Holloway, last Monday. And DCI Wallace is asking teenagers in the borough to take to their smart phones and the internet to lead him to the attackers.
“We understand its difficult for young people to talk to the police,” he said. “They operate in a completely different culture where there are stigmas about grassing people up. But they are all communicating on Facebook and twitter these days and I can promise them that if they tell us what’s going on out there I have a team of officers ready to follow up any leads.”
- To give information anonymously visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/giving-information or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. To speak to Islington CID about the stabbings call 0207 421 0226.