Law student Sami Sidhom, 18, was stabbed to death yards from his home in Forest Gate, East London in a random attack
The family of a law student stabbed to death yards from his home in a random attack made a heartfelt plea yesterday for police to tackle spiralling knife crime.
Sami Sidhom, 18, was known to friends as Mr Swot because of his glittering academic record and had started a degree at a top university.
But the Londoner’s life was cut short by a gang of ‘cowards’ who ambushed him in the dark as he walked home alone from a football match. Yesterday his distraught family spoke of their agony as they said: ‘How many more have to die this way before everyone cares?’
In a powerful statement, they said the lives of ‘bright hopes’ for the future were being snuffed out by ‘mindless’ violence on the streets of the capital.
Challenging Scotland Yard to get to grips with rampaging knife crime, they said it was ‘shameful’ that those carrying blades were ‘tolerated, unchecked and unstopped’ in the streets.
The ‘mindless’ stabbing last Monday was the 59th killing in London this year – and the total is now at 62. The first-year student was attacked minutes after getting off a late-night bus and collapsed yards from the front door of his £600,000 five-bedroom terraced home in Forest Gate, East London.
His grandmother and father Samer – a technology entrepreneur who runs his own software firm – were waiting for the West Ham fan to return after watching his team at the London Stadium.
But they never heard his cries for help and he died at the scene from multiple stab wounds to the back. The statement added: ‘How many more have to die this way before everyone cares? How many more communities like ours have to be terrorised by mindless stabbings?
The mindless and terrifying death toll from the surge in violence in London continues to rise
‘Sami was a model son, model student, a dedicated West Ham fan who was studying to be a lawyer to bring fair play and justice to those who needed it. He never had a chance to do any of that because he was stabbed in the back by cowards in the dark. He was only 18.
‘We’ve somehow ended up in a society where our brightest hopes are taken before they’ve even started. It is shameful that a single knife is allowed on the street. There isn’t a single fathomable reason why this is still tolerated, unchecked and unstopped.
‘Those who are responsible for enforcing the banning of knives in our streets are also responsible for his death. Someone once said evil triumphs when good people do nothing. Nothing will bring Sami back, but we want his killers brought to justice.’ They added: ‘It wasn’t just Sami that got stabbed near his home. It was justice itself that got stabbed in the back.’
Sami was once a poster boy for his top performing school, Newham Collegiate Sixth Form, where last year 95 per cent of A-level pupils were offered places at elite Russell Group universities. After achieving top exam results, he went to study law and history at Queen Mary University where his grades were often top of the class.
Police officers search on Chestnut Avenue in Forest Gate, east London, where Sidhom, who lived with his grandmother and father, was found knifed in the back
His former headteacher, Mouhssin Ismail, said Sami was ‘a role model in every sense of the word’ and had been ‘deprived of a life … filled with great success and happiness’. Friends said they had no idea why a ‘quiet, humble and smart’ teenager who had never been involved with gangs or violence would be attacked.
One friend speculated that the stabbing could have been motivated by jealousy over an Audi A4 he had been bought by his grandmother.
Resident Shahana Hussain said: ‘Gangs of boys hang around the corner where he was attacked all the time. I have a son who is 20, I fear for him – the streets are dangerous here.’
Yesterday a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder. Detective Chief Inspector Mark Wrigley said the investigation continues, adding: ‘While the motive for this horrific attack still remains unclear, we are making progress.’ Police believe the killers fled in two cars shortly after the fatal stabbing at 10.50pm.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘Nobody could fail to be moved by Sami’s family’s tribute to him. We all have a role to play in keeping our streets safe.’
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