Pictured: Boy, 14, who was stabbed to death ‘with samurai sword’
A teenager killed outside a pizza shop was stabbed to death with a ‘samurai sword’ as he tried to defend his friend from attackers, witnesses say.
Fares Maatou, 14, was attacked near to the Zzetta pizza restaurant in Newham, East London, shortly before 4pm on Friday by boys who allegedly tried to take his scooter.
Police today confirmed two teenage boys, 14 and 15, have been arrested on suspicion of murder, with a second 15-year-old boy also arrested in connection with the incident.
They said it is believed that Fares, whose father is ‘critically ill’ in hospital with Covid-19, was ‘attacked with a large bladed item.’
Witnesses have alleged that this was a ‘samurai sword’, with one friend writing in a deleted Instagram post: ‘That was my boy. It was done with a samurai sword.’
A friend of the victim said Fares had been attempting to protect him during a disagreement in Canning Town when the fatal stabbing took place.
The teenager was also hit over the head with a metal pole during the attack, witnesses say, after which the attackers allegedly made off with his electric scooter.
Police and paramedics had rushed to Barking Road following reports of the stabbing yesterday afternoon, but Fares was pronounced dead at around 4.30pm.
Waiters from the nearby pizza restaurant had attempted to resuscitate the teenager while they waited for emergency services to arrive, reports claimed.
The boy (above), named locally as Fares, was killed outside the Zzetta pizza shop in Newham, East London, shortly before 4pm on Friday
A friend of the victim said Fares had attempted to protect him during a disagreement on the road in Canning Town ahead of the fatal attack
DCI Perry Benton, Specialist Crime, said today: ‘Fares’s family are, of course, absolutely devastated. I have assured them of my total commitment to bringing to justice those responsible for this senseless killing.
‘They will be supported by specialist officers at every stage of what will be a terrible ordeal for them in the weeks, months and years ahead.
‘We have already seen fantastic support and received a good deal of information from local people. I thank them for that, and ask anyone with information or any witnesses who have yet to speak with police to please come forward and tell officers what they know.
‘We are piecing together the picture of what happened on Friday afternoon, and every fragment of that picture will be crucial.
‘Three boys have been arrested and they remain in police custody. This is a fast-moving investigation and there will be further developments.’
It comes after it emerged earlier today that Fares’ father is seriously ill in hospital with Covid-19, according to a family friend.
They said: ‘This is a terrible tragedy. The family have been through so much. We didn’t know if his dad was going to pull through after falling terribly ill with Covid.
‘He’s still critically ill and under intensive care, and now they have lost their youngest son.’
Speaking of the incident, a witness claimed Fares had died while ‘protecting’ him from a group of attackers who then ‘took his scooter.’
He described the moment the victim had ‘dropped’ to the ground after allegedly being ‘stabbed,’ adding: ‘I looked at you bro thinking they really got him’.
Another witness said a friend had performed CPR on Fares and given him ‘mouth-to-mouth’ in a desperate bid to save him after the attack.
The business owner, 40, said: ‘I was the first person to call 999 and while I was on the phone a Fedex driver came over and started giving him CPR.
Police today confirmed two teenage boys, 14 and 15, have been arrested on suspicion of murder, with a second 15-year-old boy also arrested in connection with the incident. Pictured: Fares Maatou
Flowers left at the scene in Barking Road, East Ham, where a 14-year-old boy was knifed to death on Friday
People place flowers at the scene in Barking Road, East Ham, following the fatal stabbing
‘One of the victim’s friends, who was also wearing a school uniform, was giving him mouth-to-mouth.
‘Someone else stopped and said she was First Aid trained and took over giving CPR.’
The victim’s mother had arrived at the scene shortly after the attack and fainted after learning her son had passed away, the Sun reported.
A lifelong friend, 15, who had known Fares since he was in nursery school and visited the murder scene with her mother, said: ‘He was really nice and had nothing to do with all this.
‘He would always ask if I was okay and always say that he was here for me if I ever needed anything in life.
‘We had a row once when we were in Year Four and I cut up his uniform with a pair of scissors.
‘I spoke to him a few hours before and he seemed alright – he was planning on going out with his mates on his bike.
‘He was really into bikes and if you go on his Instagram you can see videos where he’s doing tricks and wheelies.
Police and paramedics had rushed to Barking Road following reports of the stabbing yesterday afternoon, but Fares was pronounced dead at around 4.30pm
Waiters from the nearby pizza restaurant had attempted to resuscitate the teenager while they waited for emergency services to arrive, reports claimed
Tributes have been placed around the scene today, with neighbours describing the harrowing moment paramedics scrambled to save the boy
‘I heard his dad had been sick with Covid so I text him to see if he’s alright, but he didn’t answer and then I found out he’d died.
‘He was just about to turn 15 in May, its heart wrenching.’
Tributes have been placed around the scene today, with neighbours describing the harrowing moment paramedics scrambled to save the boy.
Friends have also paid tribute to the ‘kind person who loved everyone’ as they arrived at the scene on Barking Road to lay flowers.
One of them, a school friend of Fares, said: ‘We were in the same class together and used to hang out at lunch – the last time I spoke to him was yesterday morning.
‘I asked him why he wasn’t coming to school and he said he wanted to avoid detention.
‘He put his uniform on to make it out to his parents that he was going to school.’
The friend explained how Fares had been walking past the pizza shop yesterday when attackers attempted to take his electric scooter.
Emergency services were called to Barking Road in East Ham, Newham, shortly before 4pm on Friday to reports of a stabbing
The victim is the eleventh and youngest teenager to be knifed to death in the capital this year
The men were going to attack his friend, they claimed, but ‘Fares jumped in front of him and was hit over the head with a metal stick.’
Another witness, who tried to help the victim as he lay dying, said: ‘He was stabbed and then ran around the corner. One of the guys had a knife and the other had a big iron bar.
‘The boys, there were about five of them, who attacked him were dressed in normal clothes. We tried to help him, I checked his pulse, but he was gone.’
One woman, Lucy, added: ‘I saw the paramedics trying to resuscitate him. It was so sad. There were loads of paramedics. Armed police turned up briefly.
‘It’s a young kid it shouldn’t happen, especially in broad daylight. He was a baby. He was in school uniform.’
Fares is the 11th and youngest teenage victim to be knifed to death in London this year.
Police yesterday confirmed patrols had been stepped up in Canning Town following the shocking daylight attack.
Fares is the 11th and youngest victim to be knifed to death in London this year
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the killing, adding: ‘I am in touch with the Deputy Met Commissioner and my thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends.’
He urged witnesses to come forward, saying: ‘This appalling incident happened on a busy street in broad daylight, so if you saw or know anything then please don’t stay silent.’
Anyone with information is urged to contact the force on 101 quoting reference CAD 5134/23Apr.
Alternatively witnesses can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.