Memorial for murdered Hackney teenager

Memorial to Michael McCarthy. Photo: John Elmes

Memorial to Michael McCarthy. Photo: John Elmes

Photographs, flowers and candles, along with cans of his favourite drinks and cigarette packets, are laid out in tribute. The doorway next to where he died bears hundreds of signatures and messages.

Michael McCarthy, who leaves behind a baby son, was stabbed to death last Thursday in the street where he had lived, moments after leaving his home to go shopping. His girlfriend, with whom he shared a flat on Yoakley Road, is believed to be pregnant with their second child. He was 19.

Just yards from this tribute stands another marking the third year since a 21-year-old was shot dead on 19 November 2006. Along with flowers, an empty packet of Darren Ogiste’s favourite crisps is tacked to a street sign. His killers have not been caught.

Friends of Mr McCarthy have kept an almost constant vigil since the tragedy. “He was like family,” said one, who wished to remain anonymous and had known the popular teenager for ten years.

“He was just a young lad living his life,” she added. “He was so respectful. He had a heart. It’s just so sad.”

Another spoke of playing computer games and skipping school together with Mr McCarthy, who was nicknamed “Fox” because of his red hair. “That’s how much he was liked,” she said, pointing to the top of the adjacent building. “People have climbed up there to write for him.”

Seda Yildiz owns Clissold Wines, which is directly opposite the murder scene. The victim had regularly visited her shop during the last three years, she said. “It’s really, really shocking. He was just a boy. He seemed like a really nice person, polite to everyone.”

To the friends of Mr McCarthy, however, his death comes as less of a shock. One was just 14 when a friend was stabbed to death in Whitechapel. “It’s life, basically,” she said. “You’ve just got to get on with it. Give it another ten years and there won’t be any more teenagers left on this road.”

Despite the latest death, the number of young people murdered this year in the capital has fallen dramatically. There were 28 youth murders between January and October in 2008, compared with 11 this year.

Two men have been charged with Mr McCarthy’s murder, which happened around 11pm on 19 November. They were remanded in custody on Monday. Mustafa Demirtas and Julian Edwards, both 20 years old and from north London, will appear at the Old Bailey on 1 March next year.

Leave a Reply