Clayhall murder: More than 100 residents attend street meeting with police to discuss neighbourhood safety
PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 November 2019
More than 100 residents met with senior police and Redbridge Council officials last night to express their fears after a teenager was murdered during a fight in a Clayhall street.
Clayhall resident Khalid Sharif organised the emergency meeting, which took place outside Owen Waters House on Wednesday, November 20, just yards away from where 19-year-old Mohammed Usman Mirza was stabbed to death the night before.
Khalid wanted to try to give residents a stronger voice in the wake of the teen's murder, and in his rallying call to others pledged to "keep meeting until something is done".
After the meeting, he told the Recorder: "I honestly didn't expect so many people to come - I thought maybe there would be 10.
"The fact we had more than 100 just shows how strongly this community feels that something needs to be done.
"There is a real frustration here that it has taken something as awful as this for people to come and listen to us."
Khalid was quick to point out that, first and foremost, the group had wanted to pay its respects to Mohammed, who was pronounced dead at 10.53pm on Tuesday after police and paramedics battled for more than 30 minutes to save his life after he suffered multiple stab wounds.
He added: "People are really scared that this was able to happen. This was just a kid. It could have been any one of our kids.
"If there is one positive to come out of his tragic death it's that all of a sudden we have neighbours who have lived here for years coming out and meeting and talking to each other.
"I'm really glad the police were there to speak with us, and that councillors came too.
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"We're all agreed that something needs to change, and that it needs to change soon."
One of the concerns Khalid raised was a lack of proper CCTV in the area - highlighting the fact that a bike shed created a blindspot which had become a regular venue for anti-social behaviour.
The meeting was attended by senior police officers and Fullwell ward councillors Cllr Sadiq Kothia and Cllr Sham Islam.
The leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, was also there, and spoke to onlookers.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Athwal told the Recorder: "It was tragic circumstances to have to come together as a community, and you could see the fear and the hurt in residents' eyes.
"I had to say to everyone there 'now is not the time to discuss what we do next' because everything is still so raw. This is a time for reflection and to remember the young man who has tragically lost his life.
"But we are going to have a meeting with senior police officers, senior council officers and myself to try and work out what we can do to try and make things better for our residents.
"I am hoping we can pull that together and have that meeting in the next three weeks or so and that we can get something done."
Mohammed's next of kin have been informed and a post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.
At this early stage in the murder investigation no arrests have been made.
Anyone with information, pictures or video footage that could assist police is asked to call 101 quoting CAD 9907/19 Nov, Tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If there are any young people who either have information about violence or knife crime, they can visit fearless.org where they can pass on information anonymously.