When police knocked on Kelly McPherson’s door to ask if she’d witnessed a stabbing nearby, her heart sank.
Her stepson was yet to return home and she instinctively knew he was the victim.
She said: ‘My first thought was, “Oh no I hope it’s not Michael.”
Michael Jonas has been named as the victim of a knife murder in south London last night
Police were called to Betts Park in Anerley, near Crystal Palace. The teenager died at the scene
‘I rang his mobile three times and there was no answer. I knew it was him who had been stabbed, I just knew it.’
Mrs McPherson ran to a nearby park on Thursday evening after finding out about the attack.
She discovered air ambulance paramedics trying to resuscitate her stepson Michael Jonas, 17. He was pronounced dead nearly an hour later.
The attack in Betts Park, near Crystal Palace in South London, comes as police battle a knife crime epidemic in the capital.
A total of 22 teenagers have been murdered in London so far this year – 16 of whom were stabbed. The number of teenagers murdered in the capital is now at its highest in nine years.
Mrs McPherson said: ‘He was such a nice boy. I brought him up as my own, I was always with him.
‘We are heartbroken.’ She added that the teenager’s father, a coach driver also called Michael, was struggling to cope with the tragedy.
She said: ‘He is in shock, he is trying to come to terms with it. We have no idea why this happened.’
Writing on Facebook, Mr Jonas, who is originally from Jamaica, said: ‘RIP son, daddy was on his way but didn’t get there in time. We will never get to do what we had planned. You died the same place you were born. The same park I took you to to ride your bike and watch you play.’
Devastated relatives and friends gathered at the park in the early hours of yesterday as forensics officers combed the area for evidence. One told London’s Evening Standard: ‘Michael was a caring boy. Quiet and good natured.
‘He always wanted to change – he just didn’t know how.
‘The trouble is there is nothing for the youth to do around here – there’s no community centres.’
His heartbroken father posted this message and running to incident in which his son was killed
It is the 22nd case of a teenager being killed in the capital, where knife crime is rising
A friend who was with Michael hours before he died yesterday described him as a ‘humble, lovely guy’. He said: ‘I was chilling with him a few hours before. He was fine and his usual self… I just don’t know how this can have happened.
‘He didn’t deserve to be stabbed, not him, it’s a total shock.
‘I’ve no idea why he was in the park at that time – he didn’t mention meeting anyone.’
Another friend said: ‘He was a cool guy. As a young black man myself I feel under threat. It’s really frightening.’
A woman whose home overlooks Betts Park said: ‘The park is a hotspot for bad things. It was only a matter of time till something serious went on over there.’
There has been a 47 per cent increase in stabbings in London this year.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan held a knife crime summit with teachers earlier this week and Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones has called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to tackle the problem.
Miss Jones said: ‘Time and time again we’ve said “enough is enough” as knife crime has doubled in a year. Well over 1,000 young people were stabbed in London last year.
‘Now we demand action, not words. I’ve been pushing the Home Secretary to prioritise this epidemic among our young. It can’t be fixed with short-term thinking.
‘We need a ten-year, cross-government strategy.’
Police said there have been no arrests.