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Gun fired at stabbing could have been reactivated firearm, says investigating officer

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 February 2017

The Praba Banqueting Hall where a man was stabbed after a mass brawl on Sunday morning.

The Praba Banqueting Hall where a man was stabbed after a mass brawl on Sunday morning.

Archant

Investigators in the case of Sunday’s stabbing believe a reactivated gun could have been used to fire a bullet during the early morning melee.

According to Det Insp David Bowen, of London’s anti-gang unit Trident, the 22-year-old victim was injured when a fight broke out between 500-1,000 party-goers at Praba Banqueting Suite in Ilford High Road at around 4.30am.

Det Insp Bowen, speaking exclusively to the Recorder, confirmed there had been between 500 to 1,000 people at the 21st birthday celebration before the victim was found seriously injured in a car outside.

And the detective revealed one lead the Met were investigating was the possible use of a reactivated firearm during the incident – the source of initial incorrect reports that a man had been shot.

He said: “There is evidence of a gun being fired – a bullet was recovered at the scene – but the victim did not sustain gunshot wounds, he was stabbed.

“During the melee several people, including officers, have reported hearing multiple shouts of ‘he’s got a gun’.”

“We deemed it overly coincidental that a bullet was found on the scene after those shouts, so we have determined that a shot must have been fired.

“It’s unusual that no reports of a loud gunshot have been recorded, but one of the possibilities we are now looking into is that it was a reactivated firearm which would be much less powerful.”

But the detective stressed that was only one current line of inquiry.

When asked about reports the town centre had been a “war zone” while the police attempted to contain the incident, he said: “I can’t say for certain as I wasn’t there.

“But it would certainly be fair to say there was a melee as people attempted to leave the party, and that it was so bad the first officers on the scene were forced to immediately call for back-up.

“The injured 22-year-old has now been discharged from hospital, but for whatever reason, be it excess alcohol consumption or something else, does not seem to be able to tell us anything about the events of that night.”

Despite the large number of witnesses at the event, and numerous police appeals since Sunday, no one has yet come forward with any information about the circumstances surrounding the stabbing.

Any witnesses, or anyone with information that may assist the police investigation, should call officers from the Trident East Reactive Team on 101 or contact police via Twitter @MetCC.

To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or give information via the crimestoppers-uk.org website.


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