Police in London are investigating the 18th murder of a teenager on the streets of the British capital this year. Detectives say 16 year old Shakilus Townsend was set upon by a gang of at least three masked teenagers in the Thornton Heath area of South London.
Officers say they ambushed their victim, stabbed him in the chest, and beat him about the head.
Eyewitness Dee Bamina recalled: “He said, ‘I don’t want to die, I want my mum.’ We also asked him his name, his age, which he told us and then he said, ‘I can’t breathe.’ Those were his last words.”
The burgeoning statistics on knife attacks in the UK, especially among youngsters in London, has spurred the government to release a publicity campaign, highlighting the dangers of carrying knives.
And London’s Metropolitan Police force has made tackling knife crime its number one priority, establishing an anti-knife squad of 75 officers to target known gang members and their associates.
Police say they have arrested more than 1200 people in a clampdown on stabbings over the last six weeks.