Police patrols have been increased in Lewisham and Croydon and surrounding areas in the wake of the series of murders in the area.
The victims included Jay Hughes, 15, who died after being stabbed in a chicken shop in Bellingham on November 1, the second victim in a series of stabbing attacks that began on October 31 and claimed five deaths in six days across London.
Hughes, who had hoped to become a cartoonist, was pronounced dead at hospital after suffering a single stab wound to his heart.
The Metropolitan Police said: “There is a comprehensive knife crime and violence plan in place for the South East Area Command in partnership with the community safety leads.
The level of activity seen in Bellingham cannot be sustained medium to long term unless the risk of violence continues. Officers are deployed and operations based on threat, harm and risk both reactively and proactively.”
Police have not yet made any arrests in connection to his murder, but have appealed to the public for information.
The school student was described by his aunt, Rochelle, 32, as “a young boy who played out on his bike and met up with friends.”
She said the evening Hughes died “was a normal day, but then he never came back.” According to her, Hughes’ family are “heartbroken.”
Deanne Wright, 36, who lives in the same area, said “something like this hasn’t happened here before.” On the day Hughes was killed, she was at a shop nearby: “I saw him. He was on the floor. I saw him lying there.”
The fatal attacks all took place in south London, leading the presence of police to intensify in multiple boroughs in south London.
Five stabbings in six days:
October 31: Rocky Djelal, 38, stabbed to death at Southwark Park in Rotherhite while children play nearby. CCTV shows the suspect walking calmly away from Djelal as he is dying. Police believe Djelal was targeted; no arrests have been made.
November 1: Jay Hughes, 15, is stabbed to death outside Morley’s chicken shop on Randlesdown Road in Bellingham. CCTV shows the suspect jerking their right hand towards Hughes’ heart, which later proved to be the fatal wound. Police also believe Hughes was targeted; no arrests have been made.
November 2: Malcom Mide-Madariola, 17, is stabbed to death outside Clapham Common Underground Station in broad daylight. A 17-year old male, who cannot be named, is arrested on November 5 and charged with Mide-Madariola’s murder.
November 4: Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez, 22, was stabbed to death on Somas Road in Anerley, Bromley. On November 13, Chase Grey, 23, of South Norwood, was charged with Azeez’s murder. Three others who were arrested – two men aged 19 and 21, and a girl, 16 – have been released on bail.
November 6: John Ogunjoni, 16, is stabbed to death on Greenleaf Close in Tulse Hill. Four men, aged 22, 20, 21 and 23, were taken in to custody at south London police stations for questioning. No one has been charged yet.
Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Families of the deceased have my commitment that we have teams of specialist investigators working on those cases to bring those responsible to justice.”
Cundy added: “It’s not just about investigating murders. We have hundreds of additional duty officers on the streets of every single borough. Only together can we bring down the level of violence in London.”
Police officers were granted Section 60 powers on November 6, allowing them to search people in areas where serious violence are believed to take place.
These areas include Bellingham, Perry Vale, Forest Hill, Downham, Catford and Whitefoot.
Officers from the Violent Crime Task Force, a specialist team set up in April, are also now assisting police in Lewisham.
Sadiq Khan, London Mayor suggested police cuts were to blame. He said: “The most senior police officers in the country have said it’s naive to think there’s not a link between cutting police numbers and an increase in violent crime.”
Khan added: “The reality is we have now fewer police officers than any time since 2003.”