A teenager stabbed to death in north-east London on Wednesday night has been named as Israel Ogunsola. His death, together with the death of a man in his 50s, takes the capital’s suspected murder toll to more than 50 in just three months.
The teenager died in the shadow of a railway bridge on Link Street at the junction with Morning Lane in Hackney at 8.24pm, about half an hour after being stabbed and despite the efforts of a police officers, paramedics and a trauma doctor from London’s air ambulance.
“The policewoman’s arms were literally covered in blood, you could see she had been trying to fight for this man’s life,” said one witness to the aftermath, who declined to give her name. “People were just coming all night, just crying and breaking down in tears.”
As mourners continued to pay respects at the cordon surrounding the police forensic tent on Thursday morning, the political row over the violence deepened, with David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, accusing ministers of abdicating responsibility and police of failing to tackle organised crime.
Residents of homes overlooking Link Street described hearing a commotion and “very loud shouting” at about 8pm. One said her brother and his friend had gone outside and found police trying to resuscitate the victim.
“I then went out there about 10 minutes later, this time there was ambulance, air ambulance, the police was there and they was all around this young person trying to save his life,” she said.
“I then came back up to my house and I went back down just to see if the person’s still alive or what’s happening and that’s when I saw the body just lying there, covered with a red blanket over it. So I then knew the person had passed away.
“Then it just got really crazy around here. Some young guys started to appear at the scene and they saw what looked like their friend’s bike, so they started to get a bit frantic with the police, just saying: ‘We need to know if it’s our friend because we can see his bike.’
“He was a young boy from the community. I literally saw him riding past every single day, every day I saw him from the balcony and I see him riding past just going about his business.”
The Metropolitan police said officers on patrol on Morning Lane found the teenager at 8pm after they were flagged down by a driver who told them there had been an incident nearby.
“My officers … did all they could to try to save the life of the teenager, rendering emergency first aid and chest compressions with the help of an off-duty paramedic until the ambulance service and London’s air ambulance arrived,” said Ch Supt Sue Williams, who leads the Hackney and Tower Hamlets police command. “They are devastated they were unable to prevent yet another tragic death in the capital.”
Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Ogunsola had been charged with ABH, dangerous driving without a licence, having no insurance and being in possession of cannabis after an incident in Stevenage in November that left a police officer with a head injury. A friend of the teenager said that he had been a student at the University of Hertfordshire – which is based in Stevenage – but had recently returned home to live with his parents.
“Israel was just – he was a nice person,” said the sobbing 19-year-old, who gave her name as Petronel, as she stood by the police tape bisecting Morning Lane.
She had last seen him the previous day, when she learned he was back in London. “I hugged him, thinking that I might just see him again tomorrow.”