School boy Jermaine Goupall was just minutes from his home when he was stabbed in the thigh – bleeding out on the pavement – as he tried to flee masked knife wielding teenagers.
A court has been hearing how it was the climax of a feud between the CR7 and CR0 gang over music videos on You Tube.
Kyall Parnell, 17, was stabbed once through the heart and died on the street on New Year’s Eve in Tulse Hill after a row with fellow teenagers.
Detectives told Southwark coroners court that during the confrontation with his killer, Kyall’s friends told him to “stab him, finish him off”, which the younger boy claimed caused him to take out his own knife from his bag and stab Kyall in an attempt to protect himself.
Derryck John is featured in a missing poster last summer and a week later commits an appalling series of acid attacks that shocks the nation leaving one victim with life changing injuries. He committed the crimes with an unknown assailant and now faces a considerable prison sentence. In a statement, John said he was frightened of the other man involved, who is much older than him.
What links all these boys is their ages, ethnicity and home address – Thornton Heath – and how momentary ill-conceived acts end lives, futures and devastate families.
The victims and perpetrators are often the same individuals and music, peer pressure, and social media are contributing to young people making poor choices.
Preferring to live for now rather than the future, money and respect is valued over aspiration for some of our young.
Last week Magdalene Adenaike of Music Relief chaired a Youth Initiative meeting attended by youth groups, parents and residents in Thornton Heath which called for a community youth champion, to act as go-between raising the concerns of the community with the council.
Croydon had one of the highest levels of youth violence in London over the past year.
It can’t be a coincidence that the council’s children’s services and the Croydon Safeguarding Children Board (CSCB), which tackles issues such as gang and knife crime, were rated “inadequate” by inspectors.
Youth services and the police have also faced huge cuts with fewer officers struggling to tackle soaring knife crime.
At the meeting concerns were raised about how some young people choose to follow others with a “sheep mentality”, for fear of looking stupid.
This led to calls for initiatives to help the young make better decisions by being able to signpost them and their families to organisations that will enable them to channel their energies positively.
It also highlighted the need for parents to take a role in ensuring they knew the whereabouts of their children.
An in-depth conversation about knife crime focussed on the impact on teenagers, especially when the victim is known to them.
Joan Idris, from Off The Record which offers free counselling and on-line support to young people said: “More and more young people are dealing with the devastating affects of losing someone they know to violence and often they are not signposted to seek emotional support for bereavement or the anxiety they are experiencing.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced an extra £15 million to tackle the knife crime epidemic and if any additional income raised from council tax can be invested in youth services.
Clearly this is a complex issue and won’t have a simple overnight solution. It isn’t just about statutory organisations – it’s about parents, schools and the community working together to ensure that the next generation has the confidence to be different and value life more.
If you are dealing with the loss of a close friend, get in touch with Off The Record for confidential support
Last year 16-year-old Derryck John carried out six acid attacks in 90 minutes in order to steal mopeds.
Five young people are in court accused of the murder of 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall on Georgia Road.
The 16-year-old boy who killed Kyall Parnell, may not be charged with his murder because he “acted in self-defence”.