Pimlico stabbing: Teenager, 16, was "heard screaming for his life before he was killed by sword wielding gang"

'No, don't do it': Cries of teen, 16, begging for his life before being stabbed to death in posh London street by gang armed with knives and swords
Residents claim that a gang were seen armed with knives and swordsVictim is named locally as 16-year-old Hani Abou El-Kheir
Witnesses claim that the victim's mother was crying at the scene
No arrests made yet and detectives keeping 'open mind' in investigationHouses on one side of road where he was killed sell for half a million pounds while on the other side is a gang-plagued seventies estate
The former Pimlico Academy student was also described as 'calm and funny'He has been described as 'popular' and 'exemplary' by his old schoolLondon Mayor Boris Johnson described the murder as 'heartbreaking'

eight teenagers were murdered in London, according to Metropolitan Police figures, including six stabbings, one who died from serious head injuries and one teenager who was strangled.

Despite the fact that some of the houses
on one side of the street sell for an average of 500,000 the other
side of the street is home to a 1970s estate.

Mahmoud Abosiad visited the family today and said: 'He was a lovely boy. He did not deserve to end up on a slab.'

His mother, who is said to live 100 yards from the scene, did not want to comment today but is said to be 'broken-hearted'.

Neighbours this afternoon described the victim as a 'nice boy, polite'.

Rebecca Bartholomew, who lives a few doors down from Hani and his mother, said: 'He always seemed like a nice boy, polite.'

Scroll down for a video of an eye witness account
Scene guard: A policewoman stands guard on Lupus Street this morning while a police investigation goes on

Scene guard: A policewoman stands guard on Lupus Street this morning while a police investigation goes on

Horrific: The stabbing happened close to the junction of Lupus Street and Westmorland Place shortly before 7pm

Horrific: The stabbing happened close to the junction of Lupus Street and Westmorland Place shortly before 7pm

'We never had any trouble. He had friends his own age and whether they were in trouble I don't know.

'His mum is friendly too. They would say hello when we saw them.'

Mohammed Alzubaidi, 49, said that a friend of his witnessed the attack.

'He
said they were carrying knives, some of them with wide swords. He said
the victim was screaming and trying to get away,' Mr Alzubaidi said.

He said he had heard that the gang had scattered and run off in different directions.

Other witnesses said that the gang was made up of about 15, with most wearing dark hoodies and bandanas over their faces.

One witness said that he saw the teenager running but he tripped and was attacked by the gang.

He told the Evening Standard: 'He was shouting “don't do it” but they just went ahead.

'One put a blade in near his ribs. Others then kicked him before just jogging off as if nothing had happened.'

The witness said that the attackers calmly put their weapons in socks and put them up their sleeves as they made off.

The
fatally injured teenager was found by ambulance staff after emergency
services were called to the area following reports that a youth had been
stabbed.

Another local
resident, 22-year-old Teodor Watson, arrived on the scene just moments
after the boy was wounded and said that the victim's mother was being
kept behind a police cordon.

Crime scene: The scene in Lupus Street is still cordoned off this morning as police investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack on the boy

Crime scene: The scene in Lupus Street is still cordoned off this morning as police investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack on the boy

He said that the woman was watching while paramedics performed CPR on her son.

'She was wailing. She was in shock – she was shaking and trying to control herself. She wasn't allowed in, obviously,' he said.

The resident, who lives in a tower block overlooking the scene, added that he saw the attackers fleeing the scene.

He said: 'I came outside just seconds after it happened because I heard a lot of commotion, the victim was shouting.

'I came outside saw the victim standing and holding his stomach and about three or four young blokes running down the street.

'He
was reeling and swaying for about 20 seconds and then fell and then
people started gathering and calling the ambulance and that was pretty
much it.

'I’m just surprised it happened right on my front door step. I always had the impression that Pimlico was a quiet area.

'He
was white, all the other boys who were running down street were white.
They took a long time to stabilise him maybe 20 minutes, half an hour.'

Pimlico

Pimlico

Forensics: Police were called to the scene on Lupus Street in Pimlico, central London, at 6:50pm last night

Investigation: A police forensics tent pictured at the scene where a 16-year-old boy was fatally stabbed in Pimlico, central London, last night

Investigation: A police forensics tent pictured at the scene where a 16-year-old boy was fatally stabbed in Pimlico, central London, last night

Popular area: The boy was stabbed in Lupus Street in Pimlico, a popular residential area of central London, sitting just south of Victoria train station on the north bank of the River Thames

Popular area: The boy was stabbed in Lupus Street in Pimlico, a popular residential area of central London, sitting just south of Victoria train station on the north bank of the River Thames

He said the victim had been wearing jeans and a black jacket.

A friend of the victim, who wouldn't give his name, described the 16-year-old as a 'calm, funny guy'.

He said: 'I heard about it on twitter and went down there. He was just laying there on the floor with police and ambulances around him. Then they blocked off the road.

'His mum was trying to get through. I didn't see her leave, someone told me that there was a women in a police car so maybe that was her.

'Someone told me she was just screaming and shouting his name.

'I've known him since year seven. He was a student last year at Pimlico Academy. He was the class clown at school.

'He was a really calm, funny guy. I saw him two days ago, the day before this happened. He was walking with him mum in Lupus Street, I said “hello”. He was just normal.

'He was close with his mum, it was just him and her.

Enquiries: A police officer makes notes close to the scene where a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in Pimlico

Enquiry: A police officer makes notes close to the scene where a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in Pimlico

'I'm not sure if he was in a gang, he was just hanging around with a few boys. There has been a few stabbings in the area.'

Jackie Peralta, 39, whose first-floor flat overlooks the crime scene, said she thought the boy had been hit by a car.

She said that the teenager lay in the road for at least half an hour.

'I thought it was an accident,' she said. 'There
were so many paramedics and policemen and they were giving him first
aid. I thought it was a car crash – I didn't know it was a stabbing.

'There was a woman with him saying “Honey, honey”. My husband was cooking in our kitchen which overlooks the street. The guy was on the ground for more than 30 minutes.

'It is really scary.

'On the stretcher he was tall, I am surprised he was only 16.'

Evgeny Onegin, 22, whose third storey
flat overlooks the crime scene said his flatmate saw the boy's
attackers flee.

He said: 'He said he could see the wound bleeding out
from all the way up here. He saw three or four guys running off up the street. Lots of people gathered quickly.

'The victim was shouting and people called an ambulance as they realised what happened.'

Scene: The stabbing took place in the Pimlico area of central London

Scene: The stabbing took place in the Pimlico area of central London

Friends of the victim who came to lay a floral tribute to the murdered teenager today, have described him as a good guy.

One of the unnamed pair said: 'He was a good guy, just a teenager.'

Asked whether violence was an issue in the area, his friend added: 'It happens everywhere, it's London.'

The area is a popular residential area of central London, with Lupus Street located just over a mile away from the House of Commons.

Pimlico sits just south of
Victoria train station on the north bank of the River Thames.

The street is bordered by extensive council estates on one side and is home to Pimlico Academy.

The area is known as a well-heeled part of London, bordering the wealthy Belgravia area. It is known for its grand garden square areas and impressive regency architecture.

Sealed off: A police officer directs a resident around the police cordon in Pimlico today as a lone bunch of flowers lay on the ground close to the murder scene

Sealed off: A police officer directs a resident around the police cordon in Pimlico today as a lone bunch of flowers lay on the ground close to the murder scene

Homes in Lupus Street cost on average more than 500,000 according to
property website Zoopla, with a one-bedroom ex-council flat costing
around 300,000.

A resident said
that there is a huge divide in the area.

She
said: 'To be honest there is certainly a difference between the two
sides of the street but I never expected anything like this to happen.

'It's a shame that kids let it get to this point.

'I don't feel unsafe now but this type of thing can get to you when it happens in front of your front door.'

A 58-year-old local resident said there had been two murders in nearby
Gloucester Street in recent years and a stabbing of a boy outside a row
of shops in Lupus Street before Christmas.

'The violence that has started to occur around here is something else – it is frightening for all the residents,' said the woman, who did
not want to be named.

'You used to be able to walk around at night but I am starting to be very wary, especially at night.'

Last year Olivier Husseini, 17, was left fighting for his life after he was stabbed in nearby Gloucester Street.

David Savizon, who works for Westminster Council’s Your Choice anti-gangs programme, said Hani Abou El-Kheir’s name came up at a local meeting as someone who was 'on the periphery of having some sort of contact with gangs or activity such as drugs'.

Mr Savizon, 34, who has 12 years of experience working with youngsters at risk of joining gangs, said the schoolboy would have been assessed before being approached by drugs workers.

But he was not deemed to be a major concern, he said.

'It was more of a bookmark just to see where this young person was,' said Mr Savizon.

'Everything I have heard about him, he was a very timid young man.'

The Churchill Gardens estate where the teenager lived has become a drugs blackspot in the last year, said Mr Savizon.

Children as young as 10 are paid 'tens of pounds' to stash drugs and ferry them around. But he added that there is not an established network of drugs gangs.

'The Churchill Gardens estate has become a bit of a hotspot in the last 12 months for drugs,' said the outreach worker.

Tributes: Flowers are left at the scene in Lupus Street where a teenager was stabbed yesterday evening

Tributes: Flowers are left at the scene in Lupus Street where a teenager was stabbed yesterday evening

Heartfelt: A tribute is left for Hani Abou El-Kheir in pimlico today

Heartfelt: A tribute is left for Hani Abou El-Kheir in pimlico today

'We are really trying to identify who we need to be working with and the community needs to take some accountability for it, they know a lot of what is going on.'

He added: 'We are really concerned about the impact of drugs and the competition between dealers and young people being recruited.

'There is a very hedonistic nature to it, just making money, instant money. The draw of it is money, the vehicle is drugs and, unfortunately these are the symptoms.

'Where as with a gang there is some sort of history, hierarchy, this is more based on the need to make a deal, or recruit someone.

'In Pimlico, it's very recent, almost like a vacuum, there is no history. Now we are seeing the symptoms.

'It's become a hotspot in the last six to 12 months. There are very easy access routes, although we don't want to point the finger at different boroughs in particular you have to recognise the infrastructure and it's really easy to get into Pimlico, via Vauxhall.

'When you look at other places where there are gang and drug problems, it's difficult for other young people to infiltrate that area but you can get into Pimlico quite easily.

'Opportunity is the operative word because Pimlico provides that.

'It's the competitive nature, it's a very dangerous activity and it comes with incredible responsibility as well.

Search for clues: Forensic police search bushes near the crime scene today

Search for clues: Forensic police search bushes near the crime scene today

'I don't want to provide a “how to sell drugs” but when a young person starts to sell drugs they can incur debt and if things don't go the way they are supposed to go they find themselves being vulnerable to repercussions from the person who they are selling drugs for.

'So everything becomes a bit more desperate for that person in terms of defending themselves, in terms of defending their activity. The stakes are that much higher.'

Westminster Council said the area had seen the biggest year-on-year reduction in youth violence in London.

The principal of Pimlico Academy, Hani's old school, said today that pupils were mourning the popular former student.

Jerry Collins said: 'The pupils and staff at Pimlico Academy were deeply saddened to hear about the death of our former student Hani Abou El-Kheir and extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

'Having left the Academy in 2009 Hani rejoined in December 2011 and was a pupil here until the summer of 2012.

'Hani was a popular boy who conducted himself in an exemplary manner and will be much missed.'

He added that the academy was providing support to students following the teenagers death and that it will continue to work with police to ensure a safer neighbourhood.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson paid tribute to the young victim this afternoon.

He said: 'It is heart breaking to see the life of another young Londoner taken so tragically.

'My thoughts are with this young man's family at such a terrible moment.

'This horrific incident serves as an unwelcome reminder that although violent crime in the capital continues to fall, we must continue our fight to tackle youth violence and get knives off our streets.'

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said this morning that no arrests had yet been made and that detectives were keeping an open mind regarding the investigation.

He said: 'A murder inquiry is now under way and an incident room will open in due course under detectives from the Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate.

'We must retain an open mind re the circumstances of the incident and any motive at this early stage.'

The street, close to Pimlico Underground station, is bordered by extensive council estates on one side and is home to Pimlico Academy.

VIDEO: An eyewitness describes the moment he saw stabbing victim

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