Homes raided after Oxford St murder

 

Police carried out a number of raids on the homes of suspected gang members today in response to "rising tensions" in the wake of the murder of a teenager on the UK's busiest shopping street.

Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, was killed after a fight broke out at a Foot Locker sports shoe store on London's Oxford Street on Boxing Day, described by police as "the busiest place in the United Kingdom on the busiest shopping day".

Eleven people arrested over the murder have been released on bail while officers today conducted a number of raids across the capital and made 13 further arrests.

These were for a range of offences including grievous bodily harm, robbery, affray, intent to supply drugs, burglary, forgery and handling stolen goods.

Met Police Commander Mak Chishty said: "We were aware of rising tensions in the wake of the murder and, having monitored the situation closely, including various comments that have been made on social networking sites, we felt it vital we take robust and prompt action in order to pre-empt any potential future violence."

The motive for the fight inside the shop remains unclear but Mr Chishty said there were a number of gangs present at the time.

He said police were aware of people wanting to "seek retaliation or revenge" for what had happened. "We don't want to see any other young person or anyone else lose their lives," he added.

Further raids are expected across the capital tonight.

He added: "This is just one of a series of measures we are carrying out in order to enhance the safety of the public and visitors to London, especially with New Year's Eve pending.

"We will continue to aggressively pursue any lawful opportunities against those who choose to become involved in violent crime and thus protect potential future victims, in line with the Commissioner's pledge on total policing."

Mr Diarrassouba, from Mitcham, south west London, died from a single stab wound which pierced his heart.

In a statement released through police today, his family said: "Our loving son and brother has been snatched away from us.

"A simple shopping trip has turned into a complete nightmare for our whole family.

"We are urging anyone who was in Oxford Street at the time of the incident to come forward with any evidence, no matter how little relevance they think it could have, to help the police with their ongoing investigation.

It added: "Whoever took his life took our backbone away.

"Seydou kept us upright and now we feel weak as we have lost a very special part of us.

"Life seems meaningless without our special son and brother.

"All we can say is 'Why?' He had so much consideration for others. We want Seydou to be remembered as the loving, down-to-earth, respectful and charismatic young man he was."

A Facebook page called R.I.P. Seydou has received dozens of tributes from friends of the victim and condemnation of youth violence.

A number of weapons were recovered at the scene and police have said they are particularly interested in obtaining videos of the fight shot on camera phones.

Another youth was stabbed on the same street just a few hours later.

The 11 people arrested earlier this week - two 22-year-olds, five 19-year-olds, three 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old - have been bailed to dates in mid-January.

Those arrested in today's raids, which took place at properties in Merton, Wandsworth, Southwark and Westminster, remain in custody at various London police stations.

Last year the Met Police launched Operation Connect to help support boroughs in cracking down on gang-related violence.

Officers have been identifying the most potentially harmful individuals, and then sending them "warning letters" offering the chance of help to exit the gang lifestyle.

If those selected refuse, they are subjected to a wide range of enforcement methods - including gang injunctions and being pursued for any suspected offences - to disrupt their networks.

It has resulted in more than 100 arrests so far in Waltham Forest and Haringey, along with tens of thousands of pounds of cash being seized and dozens of young people being diverted into more positive activities.

Anyone with information about either stabbing can contact police on 020 8721 4906 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears