17-year-old boy stabbed to death in east London in suspected gang attack

Jeremie Melenge.jpg
Jeremie Malenge, 17, was fatally stabbed

A murder enquiry is underway after a teenage boy was stabbed to death on Homerton High Street, east London, on Tuesday night.

The victim, who has since been identified as 17-year-old Jeremie Malenge, was stabbed three times in the chest by attackers in what is being treated as a suspected gang attack.

The attack happened at approximately 11.40pm, with the attackers fleeing the scene on foot.

Despite an air ambulance and paramedics arriving at the scene quickly and working in the street to try and save the boy’s life, the victim was soon pronounced dead.

One local resident, 29, recalling the horrific group attack said: “My husband woke up to screams from outside - painful screams - and then the sound of footsteps running away. […] He said it sounded like a lot of people that’s the horrible thing, so you can imagine it’s more than one person.”

Local supermarket owner Ozkan Sonmez, 30, heard the attack taking place and called the emergency services. Mr Sonmez said: “I heard shouting and when I went outside I saw him fall to the ground so I just grabbed the phone and called the police and ambulance. […] He had two friends with him and they were trying to do a heart massage on him but he wasn’t moving by the time that I arrived.” He added, “He can’t have been more than 15 or 16, a black boy. […] Whoever did it just ran off as I didn’t see anyone. It’s just awful.”

Mr Malenge is now the seventh person to be murdered in the capital since New Year Day and the teenager died just metres from where Lamarni Hylton-Reid, 20, was fatally stabbed in August 2013.

No arrests have been made.

The victim’s family, who described the teenager “an excellent young man,” have urged other young people to “put down your knives before it’s too late.”

Mr Malenge’s uncle, Ernest Katula, 52, said: “We loved him so much and we will always miss him. […] We will never forget him and we will never have peace until they find out who killed him.” He added, “We just hope they find the killers and whoever else was involved and bring them to justice for Jeremie.”

Mr Katula also sent out a message to teenagers involved in gang violence. “Whoever is in a gang should come out before it’s too late, otherwise they will regret it and turn into something worse,” said the grieving uncle. He added, “Just put the knives down and concentrate on education.”

The victim’s family have described how Jeremie, a former straight-A student who had an early ambition to go to university, had not been in contact with them in recent months after “falling in with the wrong crowd.”

One family member, who does not want to be named, describing how Mr Malenge had transformed in recent months said: “Before he left home he was quiet and wouldn’t harm a fly. The minute he moved out he became someone else. […] He met the wrong people, but he had so much ahead of him.”

The relative also described the grief the family is going through. “We are broken right now. We cannot stop crying. You can’t imagine how his father feels,” they said. “Whoever saw this happen needs to come forward on behalf of the family to give any information they have to the police.”

Police are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

Witnesses should call the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.