Wednesday, 3 September 2008

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.

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