The 2018 has picked up where 2017 left off, at least in terms of random violence in the British capital. New Year’s festivities saw multiple unrelated stabbing incidents throughout the city, which left 4 dead and another victim clinging to life.
Police are appealing for information after a 17-year-old boy, an 18-year-old man and two others aged 20 died within hours as millions celebrated the start of 2018.
Investigators called the murders “heartbreaking” while vowing to crack down on rising violence in the capital.
The first victim, an 18-year-old man, was stabbed in Larmans Road, Enfield, at around 11.30am and died later in hospital.
Shortly after 7.30pm, a 20-year-old man was attacked in Memorial Avenue, near West Ham Tube station in east London.Police arrived to find the victim suffering from several stab injuries and paramedics could not resuscitate him, pronouncing him dead at the scene.Detective Chief Inspector Will Reynolds appealed for members of a group he was with at the time of the stabbing to come forward, adding: “This attack has robbed a young man of his future and robbed a family of their loved one…I know that there were people in the area who witnessed the incident.”
Three hours later, a 17-year-old boy was fatally stabbed near Tulse Hill railway station in south London, dying on the pavement from a single wound.
Detectives said they had an “open mind” over possible motives but that the victim was involved in an argument on a bus travelling through the area shortly before the attack.
Then in the early hours of the New Year, at around 2.30am, a 20-year-old man died of knife injuries in Bartholomew Court, Old Street, near the City of London boundary.
A fifth man aged in his 20s was stabbed in the same incident and remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Scotland Yard said none of the killings were being treated as linked after launching four separate murder investigations.
Commander Neil Jerome, of the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Policing Command, said thousands of officers had been on duty across London to keep the public safe during celebrations.
“However, there were small groups who chose to engage in disorder and violence, and whose actions have had utterly tragic consequences,” he added.
As is typical, this is a youth-violence problem, and knives just happen to be the tool of choice. Acid is frequently used as well. It doesn’t really matter, unless the underlying social and incarceration (or lack thereof) problems are adequately addressed, the violence will continue.
I have been in contact with friends and readers across the pond, and they are bracing for the worst. In typical UK fashion the politicians are already doubling-down on stupid – calling for more restrictions on law-abiding knife-carriers.
The Government is proposing new laws to restrict the online sale of knives, making it illegal for them to be delivered to private properties, after bringing in mandatory sentences for offenders repeatedly caught carrying weapons.
Police are also investigating a mass stabbing at a Great Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve party in Sheffield.
Two men were critically wounded in a fight at Crystal Bar at around 2.20am and remain in hospital, while three other people suffered superficial knife injuries.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said all five men were in their 20s, adding: “An investigation is in its early stages and officers remain in the Carver Street area carrying out inquiries.”
Not much of a “mass stabbing”, but “never let a crisis go to waste”.