A martial arts instructor has become London’s 52nd murder victim three days after he was assaulted by a group of boys moments after they tried to steal his moped.
The 46-year-old man was kicked and punched to the ground by seven teenagers after confronting them about attempting to steal the bike on Saturday afternoon.
The capoeira teacher, believed to have been from Brazil or Portugal, had been having lunch at the time at a Brazilian restaurant in Battersea, South West London.
Detectives have appealed for information and witnesses after the attack on Saturday afternoon on this road in Battersea, South West London
Scotland Yard said the boys attacked the man after he confronted them about trying to steal his moped, but they made off before officers arrived at 4.30pm.
It comes as a man in his 30s was stabbed to death in a fight in Forest Gate, East London, in the early hours of today. He was taken to hospital by ambulance but died.
In Battersea, a 16-year-old boy was arrested near the scene soon after the attack on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken to a police station before being bailed.
But the police probe has now become a murder inquiry following the man’s death, and is being led by detectives from the homicide and major crime command.
Detectives have appealed for information and witnesses after the attack on Charlotte Despard Avenue, which left the man with a head injury. The moped was not stolen.
A waitress at the restaurant said she was ‘still in shock’ and told how she prayed next to the man as he had stopped breathing following the vicious attack.
She said: ‘I was sitting outside with him and a Spanish lady and we were talking about church and other things.
‘He was telling me how he went to Spain and he does capoeira and teaches how to do self-defence.
Separately, police were on the scene in Forest Gate in East London today after a fatal stabbing
‘Then he came inside to pay for his bill and then he left, outside he had a motorbike – I don’t know if he forgot something because he came back.
‘By the time we came back to the table one of the boys had jumped on his motorbike and was trying to steal it
‘The Spanish lady screamed. She said ‘somebody is trying to rob the motorbike’. It all happened so fast, the robber was really trying hard to go.
‘I saw the boy punching the poor man. He turned around and punched him back and they both fell into the motorbike.
‘When I saw this I began to worry as I knew there would be more coming. I tried to stop him, to get him out, but they all came at the same time.’
The stunned witness said that she remembered seven youths ‘under the age of 18’ attacking the man.
She said: ‘It was terrifying, I had to stand back as one of them had a knife. I was screaming to them ‘stop this, stop this’.
‘I begged with them don’t it, but they hit him and he went to the floor, then they kicked him and they kicked his face.
‘And then one of them came with the knife, my son said please don’t do this, but the knife fell on the floor and somebody managed to kick it away.
A white tent was erected over the scene of the stabbing in Forest Gate early this morning
‘They left him on the floor, he was not breathing. He laid there and I started to pray, I’m a Christian and I believe in God – some others joined me in prayer.
The group rushed off before police arrived at the scene shortly after 4.30pm but the moped was not stolen.
The attack happened on the same road where another 46-year-old Ian Tomlin was beaten to death in October last year.
Residents of a nearby block of flats described the area as ‘getting worse’ due to problems ‘with gangs’.
A man in his thirties said: ‘I’m the only one of my friends that has not moved out, I’m just here to care for my mum
‘If we had any sense we would’ve got out sooner, what happened to that man was one of three crimes in the past two weeks.
‘You have to be careful when you go outside your door, most times we just stay in and order food if we need to.’
Officers believe they know who died, but will not reveal his identity until they have received formal identification and confirmation of all next of kin being informed.
A post-mortem examination will be held in due course, and specialist police officers are now forensically examining the moped, which they have recovered.
A forensic officer at the scene of the fatal stabbing in Forest Gate this morning
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said: ‘We know there were a group of young males, some on pedal cycles, who were hanging around the area prior to the incident. I want to hear from anyone who saw this group or who may know their identity.
‘There is a busy Tesco store and other shops nearby in Battersea Park Road, and people will have seen these males in the area before, during and after the attempted theft of the moped and their subsequent cowardly attack.
‘I want to reassure the community that there is an urgent and extremely thorough police investigation underway, and I am determined to find those responsible.
‘I also want to reassure them that any information provided will be treated in confidence and, even if people do not wish to contact police directly, they can provide information anonymously through the charity Crimestoppers.
‘I am certain that several people – probably local to the area – will know what happened and who was responsible for this attack on the victim and on their own community. I need them to come forward and share information with me.’
Police also wish to hear from anyone who may have dashcam footage of the incident or of the group of boys, and from anyone who has CCTV in the area.
Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar, South West Basic Command Unit Commander, said: ‘My thoughts are with the victim, and his family and friends.
- Jan 1: Charlotte Huggins, 32, Camberwell
- Jan 1: Tudor Simionov, 33, Mayfair
- Jan 4: Simbiso Aretha Moula, 39, Rainham
- Jan 6: Sarah Ashraf, 35, Isle of Dogs
- Jan 7: Jayden Moody, 14, Waltham Forest
- Jan 11: Asma Begum, 31, Canning Town
- Jan 27: Kamil Malysz, 34, Acton
- Jan 29: Nedim Bilgin, 17, Islington
- Feb 4: Carl Thorpe, 46, Highgate
- Feb 5: Lejean Richards, 19, Battersea
- Feb 10: Dennis Anderson, 39, East Dulwich
- Feb 18: Bright Akinlele, 22, Camden
- Feb 19: Brian Wieland, 69, Chingford
- Feb 21: Glendon Spence, 23, Brixton
- Feb 22: Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck, 19, Wood Green
- Feb 25: David Lopez-Fernandez, 38, Tower Hamlets
- Feb 26: Che Morrison, 20, Ilford
- Mar 1: Jodie Chesney, 17, Harold Hill
- Mar 2: Elize Linda Stevens, 50, Hendon
- Mar 2: Jolia Bogdan, 3 months, Croydon
- Mar 3: Unnamed man, 37, Soho
- Mar 6: Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, Kew
- Mar 6: David Martinez, 26, Leyton
- Mar 7: Antoinette Donnegan, 52, Battersea
- Mar 7: Ayub Hassan, 17, West Kensington
- Mar 16: Nathaniel Armstrong, 29, Fulham
- Mar 22: Abdirashid Mohamoud, 17, Isleworth
- Mar 24: Ravi Katharkamar, 54, Pinner
- Mar 27: Ramane Richard Wiggan, 25, West Norwood
- Mar 28: Zahir Visiter, 25, Regents Park
- Mar 29: Gavin Garraway, 40, Clapham
- Apr 1: Calvin Bungisa, 22, Kentish Town
- Apr 2: Hubert Hall, 60, Walthamstow
- Apr 7: Annabelle Lancaster, 22, Enfield
- Apr 8: Noore Bashir Salad, 22, Manor Park
- Apr 16: Gopinath Kasivisuwanathan, 27, Wembley
- Apr 17: Steven Brown, 47, Stoke Newington
- Apr 23: Meshak Williams, 21, Harlesden
- Apr 26: Mihrican Mustafa, 38, Canning Town
- Apr 26: Henriett Szucs, 34, Canning Town
- Apr 26: Amy Parsons, 35, Whitechapel
- Apr 26: Joshua White, 29, Hackney
- May 1: Tashaun Aird, 15, Hackney
- May 5: Constantin Sin, 51, Leytonstone
- May 5: Junior Urugbezi-Edwards, 18, Southwark
- May 11: Erik San-Filippo, 23, Islington
- May 16: Barrington Davis, 54, Lewisham
- May 23: Unnamed man, 60s, Kensington
- May 23: Unnamed woman, 60s, Kensington
- May 26: Unnamed woman, 23, Tower Hamlets
- May 28: Unnamed man, 30s, Newham
‘I am also aware of the impact this murder has had on the local community, especially given the proximity to the scene of Ian Tomlin’s tragic murder in October last year.
‘We appreciate the continued support and assistance of local residents with our ongoing work to reduce crime on the Doddington and Rollo estates.
‘If you have information that could assist us with this investigation, please make contact as soon as you can. Our officers will be patrolling in the area – please talk to them or contact Crimestoppers or Fearless.’
Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8721 4054. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
In Forest Gate, police were called to a brawl in the early hours of today and found the victim with knife wounds.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance but died, and officers are working to inform his family. A post-mortem examination will take place in due course.
Anyone with information on the Forest Gate incident can call police on 101 quoting CAD427/28May or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Young people can visit fearless.org where they can pass on details anonymously. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police.