Heartbroken friends and family have left behind touching tributes to a 20-year-old who was knifed to death in a leafy and affluent road just a street away from his home.
Devoy Stapleton was stabbed at 1am on Sunday as he made his way home from a night out in Wandsworth, becoming London’s twelfth murder victim in three weeks.
Police found him in a pool of his own blood after being called to the middle-class suburb of Earlsfield, south west London where houses fetch more than £1million.
Today, handwritten tributes, bunches of flowers and bottles of alcohol were left inches from the spot where Mr Stapleton collapsed before losing consciousness.
He died just an hour after paramedics arrived on the scene, becoming the 31st stabbing victim in the capital this year.
Among the notes was one which read: ‘Dear uncle Devoy, you’ll always be in our hearts and souls brother, we love you more than words could ever write.’
Friends and family have been leaving floral tributes and letters to Devoy Stapleton since he was stabbed to death on Sunday morning
Devoy Stapleton, 20, was knifed to death on his way home from a night out at 1am in Wandsworth
Police officers and forensic teams have been on the scene in affluent Earlsfield as the investigation into Mr Stapleton’s murder gets underway
One of the tributes to Mr Stapleton left at the scene of the stabbing today, which read: ‘Brother, you went away so suddenly’
Flowers, candles and several bottles of Champagne were left near the scene of the murder
Police officers have been on the scene in affluent and leafy Earlsfield since Sunday morning, while floral tributes have been left behind for much of the day
One of the tributes left to Mr Stapleton, which read: ‘Rest up darling, gone to soon’ (pictured)
A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at a west London police station
Police officers were seen investigating a small green near Ellerton Road, where Mr Stapleton was found bleeding to death
A tribute to Mr Stapleton, which reads: ‘Dear uncle Devoy, you’ll always be in our hearts and souls’
Last night his cousin Billie Shuter said: ‘My little cousin was murdered last night, my heart is broken. RIP Devoy Stapleton.’
His family, who live just a street away from the murder scene, were too upset to speak, but a large crowd gathered at the scene to leave flowers and tributes.
A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at a west London police station.
The surge in killings comes as rates of rape, robbery, and violent offences in London have already eclipsed those in New York.
While both London and New York have populations of around 8 million, Office of National Statistics figures published in October suggest you are almost six times more likely to be burgled in the British capital than in the US city, and one and a half times more likely to be robbed.
London also has almost three times the number of reported rapes, but until February this year the murder rate in New York remained higher.
A man has died after being stabbed to death on Sunday morning in Wandsworth. The unnamed victim in his twenties had left a bar and was found with the fatal wound on Ellerton Road at the junction with Burntwood Lane (pictured)
The man, who is thought to be 20, was pronounced dead at the scene around 2am on Sunday
Formal identification awaits and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course, but the victim’s next-of-kin have been informed
The total number of London murders, even excluding victims of terrorism, has risen by 38 per cent since 2014.
In contrast, the number of murders in New York have fallen by 87 per cent since its 1990s peak.
Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick said social media sites could be to blame, claiming disputes on online messaging boards and video sites were escalating to murder ‘within minutes’.
‘There’s definitely something about the impact of social media in terms of people being able to go from slightly angry with each other to ‘fight’ very quickly,’ she said.
She also wants to increase the use of stop and search, which fell by up to two thirds when Theresa May was Home Secretary.
Scotland Yard (32,000 officers) and the New York City Police Department (40,000) both have budgets of £3 billion a year.
But the NYPD has introduced a zero tolerance approach to low-level crime and has flooded problem areas with patrols.
A murder epidemic is sweeping London. On Sunday, an unnamed man in his 20s became the 12th person in just 19 days to be gunned down or stabbed to death in the capital
A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at a west London police station in connection to the Sunday killing
Locals left flowers and tributes to the stabbing victim on Sunday afternoon
Lyndon Davis (left), 18, the youngest to have been named in March, was found suffering from a single stab wound in Chadwell Heath, east London on March 14. Joseph Williams-Torres (right), 20, was killed the same evening as he sat in a stationary car in Essex Close, Walthamstow
Critics say Scotland Yard has done the exact opposite in the face of budget cuts, as it has ‘screened out’ a number of low-level offences and moved officers from neighbourhood policing to pursue historic child abuse inquiries, terrorism and other high-profile inquiries.
David Green, of the think-tank Civitas, said: ‘There is now a higher risk of being a victim of violent crime in London than New York, which is pretty staggering.
THE 12 DEAD IN JUST 19 DAYS IN LONDON’S MURDER EPIDEMIC
Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, Walthamstow
Lyndon Davis, 18, Chadwell Heath
Russell Jones, 23, Enfield
Hersi Hersi, 36, Hounslow
Tyrone Silcott, 42, Hackney
Balbir Johal, 48, Southall
Jermaine Johnson, 41, Walthamstow
Beniamin Pieknyi, 20, Stratford Centre
Abraham Badru, 26, Hackney
David Potter, 50, Tooting High Street
Unnamed man, 23, Greenwich
Unnamed man, 20s, Wandsworth
There is no way in which the police can be expected to deal with a bigger population in London and a lot of gang activity if you keep cutting budgets and reducing officer numbers.
‘If you look at cities like New York and Boston, they have poured a lot of resources into diverting people from gang activity and putting more officers on the street.
‘We have reduced visible policing – it’s the exact opposite.’
Lyndon Davis, 18, the youngest to have been killed in March, was found suffering from a single stab wound in Chadwell Heath, east London on March 14.
Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, was killed the same evening as he sat in a stationary car in Essex Close, Walthamstow.
Russell Jones, 23, was ambushed outside shops near Ponders End station, in Enfield and stabbed and shot to death.
Father-of-two Tyrone Silcott, 42, died from knife wounds on March 18 after a St Patrick’s Day party.
It is alleged the car mechanic got into a row over two girls at a party in Homerton and was attacked.
Romanian Beniamin Pieknyi, 20, (pictured) is believed to have jumped in to the fight in a bid to save his friend during the altercation at the Stratford Centre in east London
Hersi Hersi (left), who lived as a trans woman called Naomi, was pronounced dead at the scene after being found with knife injuries at Heathrow Palace in Hounslow. Russell Jones, 23, became the eighth person in a week to be killed in London when he was ambushed outside shops near Ponders End station, Enfield
Hersi Hersi, who lived as a trans woman called Naomi, was pronounced dead at the scene after being found with knife injuries at Heathrow Palace in Haslemere Avenue, Hounslow, at 10.50am on Sunday.
On March 19, Balbir Johal, 48, died after being stabbed in Southall and the next day 41-year-old Jermaine Johnson died of knife wounds in Walthamstow.
Romanian Beniamin Pieknyi, is believed to have jumped in to the fight in a bid to save his friend during the altercation at the Stratford Centre in east London on the 20th.
The 20-year-old, who only arrived in Britain two months ago, died in his best friend’s arms after being chased and stabbed by a gang in the busy shopping centre.
On March 25, 26-year-old Abraham Badru was gunned down in Hackney.
The university graduate, who was murdered in Dalston, east London, on Sunday, was awarded the National Police Bravery Award in July 2009.
David Potter, 50, was found stabbed to death in a property on Tooting High Street on Monday 26.
And an unnamed 23-year-old in Greenwich was killed on Thursday night, the final murder for the month of March.
London’s murder rate has overtaken New York City’s numbers for the first time ever. In February, there were 15 murders, including 17-year-old Promise Nkenda (pictured), who was run over and stabbed to death
Lewis Blackman (left) was stabbed to death after a party in Kensington on February 18. Kwabena Nelson, 22, (right) was ambushed outside his home in Tottenham and stabbed to death in early February
Aspiring accountant Sadiq Aadam Mohamed, 20, was found with serious stab wounds in Malden Road, in Belsize Park, in February
THE 15 MURDER VICTIMS OF FEBRUARY
Sadiq Mohamed, 20, Kentish Town
Abdikarim Hassan, 17, Kentish Town
Josef Boci, 30, Greenwich
Seyed Khan, 49, Ilford
Rotimi Oshibanjo, 26, Southall
Promise Nkenda, 17, Canning Town
Sabri Chibani, 19, Streatham Common
Lewis Blackman, 19, Kensington
Hasan Ozcan, 19, Barking
Hannah Leonard, 55, Swiss Cottage
Kwabena Nelson, 22, Tottenham
Mark Smith, 48, Chingford
Bulent Kabala, 41, Enfield
Saeeda Hussain, 54, Ilford
Juan Olmos Saca, 39, Peckham
Jacob Whittingham, charity head of programmes for Fight for Peace, told the Sunday Times: ‘What’s scary about London is the randomness of the crime.
‘With young people in London, you have no idea if and when you may be the victim of a violent crime — that’s why they feel the need to carry weapons.’
DCS Sean Yates, Scotland Yard’s head of knife crime, blamed social media as an increasing factor in escalating grudges between youngsters that led to knife attacks.
He also said courts were failing to enforce a ‘two strikes’ law aimed at jailing those caught with a knife twice, which was frustrating law enforcement.
The sharp rise in the number of young people killed by knife crime in London has come despite Scotland Yard stepping up its use of suppression and enforcement tactics, carrying out more stop and search, more weapon sweeps and other activity on the streets.
The Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, has said reversing rising violent crime is a priority.
Speaking in February she said: ‘The frequency with which some of our young people are prepared to take each other’s lives is shocking.
‘London must come together to make it clear that this cannot continue. We will not police our way out of this problem.’
Cressida Dick continued: ‘There is a role for all of us – London’s public, our partners and the police.’
She appealed directly to young people saying: ‘There will be young people out today who are carrying knives – stop and think.
‘Do you really want your life to end? Or end someone else’s and waste your own life in prison?
‘My challenge to everyone in London is to ask each and every person to think about what you can do to help us tackle this blight on our city.’
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan requested an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service to discuss what can be done ‘to tackle the evil of knife attacks on Britain’s streets’.
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