CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Family of teen stabbed to death urges young people to ‘learn from this’

Beneath council signs that say “no ball games” and “no dogs” they had painted “no knives”

28 August, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

A mural for Alex Smith

THE family of a 16-year-old boy who was stabbed to death pleaded with youngsters at a vigil held where he was killed to “learn from this”.

Scores of teenagers arrived on Thursday evening at the spot in the Regent’s Park Estate where Alex Smith was knifed to death two weeks ago to pay their respects to his family and hold a vigil in his honour. Yusuf Yusuf, 19, of Sandwell Crescent, West Hampstead, and Arif Biomy, 19, of Wickham Lane, Greenwich, have both been charged with his murder.

Addressing the crowd, Alex’s cousin, Stephen Barnabis, said: “Life is precious, life is valuable. The way that you walk and the way that you talk and present yourself, they mean something. “Know that you have ambitions and you can go somewhere and please when you walk past this [memorial] just appreciate the value of life.”

A group of Alex’s friends had spent days painting a mural depicting the former Acland Burghley pupil sitting on a bike under a blue sky. Beneath council signs that say “no ball games” and “no dogs” they had painted “no knives”. Another of Alex’s relations, who did not want to be named, read aloud Margaret Mead’s funeral poem Remember Me.

“You can tell by the number of people who are here at this memorial just how much he meant to you all,” she addded. “I’m begging you, let’s try and learn from this.”

A prayer was then said by an older cousin. She added: “Knife is not the answer. A life has been cut short, families have been grieving.”

Flowers were left at the foot of the mural and candles were lit. Alex grew up in Islington but the family recently moved to Wembley.

As the New Journal previously reported, he was excluded from Acland Burghley School, sparking calls from activists for more support to be given to vulnerable children.

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