Hundreds light candles with Alan’s family as Islington community says ‘enough is enough’
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of distraught residents joined the family of Alan Cartwright in a candlelit vigil at the spot where he died on Friday.
More than 500 mourners walked from outside Cally Pool on Caledonian Road, where Alan died, to the junction with Copenhagen Road – where the 15-year-old was stabbed on his bike exactly seven days prior.
Police took the opportunity to make a further appeal for witnesses, approaching passers by and erecting a huge sign where they had closed the road for the community to pay its respects.
Founders of the newly set up Islington Unite group, which helped organise the event, were joined by other youth violence charities and campaigners.
In an emotional thanks to those who had gathered, Justin, the husband of Alan’s mother Michelle Watson, said: “Thanks for all your support – let’s get Alan Justice.”
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Following the vigil the crowd showed solidarity joining in with a chorus of “we love you Alan, we do.”
Danny O’brien, founder of Anti-Knife UK, spoke to the community and asked them to help prevent more deaths on the borough’s streets.
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“Let’s make sure we know where our children are,” he said.
“Let’s not come back in a few months time or even sooner for the same reason we’re here today.
“You’ve got this huge community spirit in Islington. Teachers, councillors, do something for this community and make it safer so we don’t have what we’ve had over the last six or seven years.
“Stop it. If you’re in a gang, get out of it. The only gang you need is your family.”
Alan’s sister Cherrie Smith has been fundraising and campaigning since her brother’s death and is organising a charity bike ride on what would have been Alan’s 16th birthday. Miss Smith, 21, said the family were blown away by the support.
“We didn’t realise how close-nit the community was,” she said.
“We didn’t expect this many people to come down and we’re very happy about it. It’s just amazing to see that so many people loved Alan.”
Miss Smith’s fiancée Anthony Middlebrook, said: “He’ll be up there looking down loving this, all these people here.
“He didn’t deserve this, wrong place, wrong time, he lived on this road, he was always here.
“He was just going about his business doing what every typical teenager does.”
Mr Middlebrook had known Alan for two and a half years before his death.
“He was becoming such a lovely young man,” he said, “he would have been 16 in June.
“We’re never going to get to see him have the future he deserved.”
As the vigil was taking place police charged an 18-year-old man from Holloway with Alan’s murder.
Joshua Williams, of Davenant Road, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and is set to appear at the Old Bailey tomorrow morning.
Three other males, aged 17, 18 and 21, were all arrested on suspicion of murder last week and released on bail to return to a police station in April.