Wednesday, 3 September 2008

CORRECTED - Youth held over 14-year-old's murder

(Corrects date of arrest after update from police)

LONDON (Reuters) - London police said on Wednesday they had arrested a youth in connection with the murder of Shaquille Smith, a 14-year-old boy stabbed to death in the capital at the weekend.

Smith died from a stab wound to his abdomen after becoming involved in a fight with a group of youths on Saturday night in Hackney, east London. He was the 25th teenager to die in violent circumstances in London this year.

His 16-year-old sister also suffered wounds to her face and neck in the incident but her injuries were not serious.

Man found stabbed to death in Northampton

A man has been found stabbed to death in a house in Northamptonshire.

The man, who detectives think is 38 years old, was found in Thrapston, at about 3.15am.

A post-mortem is being carried out by a Home Office pathologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies said: "At this stage, I have an open mind about the circumstances of this man's death but will be carrying out a thorough investigation to establish the facts of what happened."

More family agony as it emerges that Shaquille Smith was innocent victim of feud between street gangs

Another fatal stabbing on the streets.. another family's agony Mother's heartache at killing of 'good' Shaquille
The heartbroken mum of one of Britain's youngest stab victims told yesterday of her desperate struggle to save her son's life.

Army cadet Shaquille Smith, 14, died after he was attacked by hoodies who arrived on BMX bikes just yards from his home.

It emerged yesterday the boy was the innocent victim of a feud between two street gangs.

It is believed he and his sister Tahirah, 16, were attacked by a group called the Fields Boys.

Tahirah was slashed across the face and neck as she tried to protect her brother.

Shaquille tried to crawl back home and his mother Sandra Maitland, 43, found him lying on the pavement outside the family's house in Hackney, East London.

She said: "His sister shouted at me to come outside because the Fields Boys were there.
"I ran out and the gang just rushed past me. Shaquille was lying on the floor. He kept saying to stop everyone shouting.
"I was pressing on his wound, trying to stop the bleeding with a towel. There was no confrontation. They just attacked."

A neighbour said: "Shaquille dragged himself to his house. He was saying, 'Ouch, my stomach,' very quietly. He was conscious as the ambulance came."

Before the attack Shaquille and Tahirah were chatting to another friend in a park.
Neighbour, Laura Middlehurst, 31, said: "About 15 of them came on bikes. Shaquille was trapped.

"There was no way out and he was trying to hide in the bushes."
It is thought he was stabbed by the gang in those bushes.

At first surgeons believed Shaquille would survive. Sandra said: "He woke up in hospital and said he wanted strawberry flavoured water and to see his one-year-old baby sister.
"I went up to theatre with him at 2am and stayed the whole time.
"But at 7am they said they couldn't stop the bleeding."
Last night a postmortem confirmed Shaquille, who had three sisters and a brother, died from a single single stab wound to the abdomen.

Tahirah was recovering at home with stitches in a face wound. Devastated Sandra, a social worker, said: "We are still in shock. It just hasn't sunk in yet.
"It's like he's still there in hospital and will come home soon. He had very good manners and was in the Army cadets.
"I wanted him to focus on something productive that gave him self-discipline."

One local, mum-of-three, Francesca Aboye, 42, said gang violence in the area is so bad her adult son would not risk leaving the house. She said: "I have an 18-year-old son. He did not go out all yesterday because he is scared.
"It's been going on for a long time. No children from here go to London Fields because of that gang, so the gang comes here."
Shaquille was preparing to begin his GCSE studies at Sir John Cass's Foundation School.

Gang 'killed dad in feud over assault'

A father was stabbed to death trying to protect his son from a gang pressing the lad to drop assault charges, a court heard yesterday.

Mohammed Raja Shafiq, 50, had gone to the rescue of 18-year-old Umar in a park.

His four attackers had weapons including a knife and a metal bar, Manchester crown court was told.

And as they fled the scene, one allegedly showed off the bloodstained knife and said: "I've just stabbed someone, aren't I a cool f****r?"

Mohammed Bilal Bhatti, 20, Omar Khalid, 19, Shahdab Akhtar, 19, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named deny murder and violent disorder.

Akhtar had been charged with assaulting Umar five months before the attack in Burnley and had "repeatedly pressed" him to drop the charges, the court heard.

He was the first to strike Mr Shafiq with a belt and Bhatti stabbed him in the stomach before bragging as they fled, the ongoing trial heard.

'Stamp out knife crime'

By Jacqui Smith Home Secretary:

The deaths of young people in violent incidents are truly tragic.

But just as my heart goes out to them and their families, I know that people want me to be sure we are doing all we can to catch the killers and to stop more crimes like this happening.

We can never give up in the fight against violent crime - and tackling knife crime is one of my top priorities.

The Government has doubled the maximum sentence to four years for carrying a knife, and raised the age you can buy a knife from 16 to 18 years.

The police have increased the use of stop and search to take knives off our streets and take on those who are carrying them, and teachers now have the power to search pupils in schools.

Today I'm publishing the Gangs Guide for Parents - giving parents the support and advice they need to talk to their kids about the dangers of joining a gang.

As the Mirror's campaign against knives has proved, everyone has an important part to play - not just the police and local councils, but parents and community groups as well. One thing I'm concerned to tackle is the young age of some victims.

Alongside tough enforcement, we're working closely with schools to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives - making it clear that a knife makes you less safe, not more.

The police are working with hospitals to share data on knife injuries and will carry out home visits to parents of young people believed to be carrying knives.

The injuries and deaths we've seen have to stop. So let's work together to stamp out knife crime and stop young people needlessly losing their lives.

Boy, 14, knifed to death in 'revenge attack' is 25th to be murdered in London

A boy of 14 was stabbed to death in what might have been revenge for a youth who died falling from flats as he was chased by a gang.

Shaquille Maitland-Smith was knifed in the stomach and sister Tahirah, 16, suffered serious slashes to her face.

Saturday's sickening attack in Hackney, East London, happened just half a mile away from where Ahmed Benyermak, 16, fell from a tower block.

One theory is that the latest killing may be linked to Ahmed's death 10 days earlier.

Shaquille, the 25th teenager to be murdered in London this year, and Tahirah are said to have been set upon by a gang on BMX bikes. Witnesses said the black youth's mum Sandra, 43, cradled him in her arms before paramedics arrived.

He died in hospital yesterday. Tahirah's condition was last night said to be stable.

Tiziano Niero, who lives four doors down from the dead boy's family in St Thomas's Place, said he saw a gang of youths riding BMXs and heard shouting outside his house before he was stabbed.

He said: "I heard a girl in tears and I looked out on to the street and there's a kid lying in the street, conscious but bleeding.
"He was dying in front of my window but dragged himself in front of his house.
"He was a nice boy. He wasn't aggressive but he got with the wrong crowd."

A police spokesman said: "It is believed that the two victims had been involved in an altercation with a group of youths prior to being assaulted."

Last night, Shaquille's godmother Cindy Liverpool, 46, told of his mother's grief.

She said: "She is not taking it well at all. It's so sad. He was just a really nice little boy. He didn't interfere with anyone."

Another terrified mum in the neighbourhood said: "It's not safe at all around here.

"When my children come home from school, I make sure they take the quickest route."

Police probe knife killing of 14-year-old

A 14-year-old boy has been stabbed to death in Hackney in east London, the 25th teenager to die in a knife or gun attack in the capital this year, police said on Sunday.

The boy was stabbed late on Saturday night after becoming involved in a fight with a group of youths and died on Sunday morning in an east London hospital.

A 16-year-old girl who was also involved in the fight suffered slash wounds, but is in a stable condition in hospital.
There will be a post mortem on Monday at the Royal London Hospital and police have appealed for witnesses.

A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Liverpool on Saturday.

A wave of shootings and stabbings in London in recent months has prompted a police crackdown on young people carrying weapons. Metropolitan Police chief Ian Blair said last month that the violence was "unacceptable".

Official figures released in July showed there were more than 22,000 serious offences involving knives in England and Wales in the year to end-March 2008, though crime fell significantly overall.