Victim’s family watch MPs debate knife crime

Tributes laid at the scene of Jaden's death in Bickley Road, near Bakers Arms
Tributes laid at the scene of Jaden’s death in Bickley Road, near Bakers Arms

Death of 14-year-old Jaden Moodie leads to calls for public inquiry, reports Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter

The family of a 14-year-old found dead in Leyton watched on as three local MPs headed a debate on knife crime in parliament.

Jaden Moodie was fatally stabbed in Bickley Road, Leyton, on Tuesday 8th January. His family came to the House of Commons two weeks later to listen while MPs discussed solutions to violent crime.

Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer called for a public inquiry into rising knife crime rates. He said: “We have seen a wave of violent crime across London and beyond but particularly knife crime. It appears that some teenagers don’t feel safe without knives, and it is killing them.”

The Labour MP suggested cuts to youth services could be to blame for increases in knife crime, saying without them young people are left “exposed to dangerous environments”. He also called for early intervention to keep youngsters away from gangs and weapons but also blamed “excessive” cuts to police and local councils for rises in violence between young people.

John said: “Police, social workers, voluntary organisations, are all a shadow of what they were. Resources matter and London is now dealing with a desperate situation to which there will not be an easy solution.”

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, in whose constituency Jaden was killed, said: “First and foremost, I pay tribute to the family of Jaden Moodie. They have shown incredible courage and strength at such a difficult time by being here and being so determined about the future.

Fourteen-year-old Jaden Moodie
Fourteen-year-old Jaden Moodie was stabbed to death in Leyton last month

“In the last 18 months, we have buried six children in our community – children killed by other children. The others were Elijah Dornelly, Kacem Mokrane, Joseph William-Torres, Amaan Shakoor, and Guled Farah. Each of their families, like Jaden’s family, is grieving for the life they have lost.

“They are now asking for our help so that no other family will go through this horror. They need a government who join the dots and recognise that too many of our young people are struggling in education, are vulnerable to exploitation and are therefore vulnerable to such challenges.

“We must ensure that young people receive alternative provision and that we see those young people as worthy of fighting for.

“Please, I do not want another child in our community to be buried because of knife crime ever again. It is preventable, and if we work together, we can stop it.”

Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith said: “The issue of knife crime tends to be shovelled away because the media too often see it as a spat between members of different gangs; it only ever breaks the surface when somebody they cannot pigeon-hole is abused, as in the terrible event that happened recently.

“In Waltham Forest the number of knife offences was 27.34% higher than in the previous year. This is a growing problem. It is high time we did more to support families and parents so that governments, police, and schools, see no violent crime at all.

“London’s murder rate has reached the highest level for a decade, with stabbings and shootings very often linked to gangs and the supply of drugs.

“The point of challenging knife crime is not just that we are worried about violence and crime, but that we are worried about our communities not thriving as they could.

“Many organisations and much invaluable activity is already underway, such as London Gang Exit, Gangs Unite, Key4Life, and Growing Against Violence, to name a few. We must draw upon their successes to suggest a co-ordinated response to the epidemic.”

In a report, the Commons Home Affairs Committee said the “worrying” prevalence of young people carrying knives is “mostly motivated by fear and a lack of faith” in the ability of “natural protectors” like police and parents to keep them safe.

An 18-year-old man from Wembley has been charged with Jaden’s murder and remains in custody.