Stabbing as Lord Lloyd Webber launches gangs scheme


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The Independent Online

A schoolboy is in a critical condition after being stabbed on a bus outside a school – on the same day it was hosting the launch of a scheme by Andrew Lloyd Webber to combat gang culture by encouraging deprived schoolchildren to take up music.

The 16-year-old was attacked in an apparent ambush just seconds after boarding a 393 bus yards from the gates of Highbury Grove School in the London borough of Islington, which he had previously attended.

Teachers rushed to the boy’s aid before paramedics arrived in Highbury New Park and spent 20 minutes trying to revive him at about 3pm on Tuesday.

An air ambulance landed on the school’s Astro Turf pitch and airlifted the teenager to hospital in east London where he was said last night to be in a “critical” but stable condition. Police said the boy was attacked following a row with another teenager.

A boy in a black baseball cap and plain clothes was seen fleeing the scene through Spring Gardens Estate off Highbury New Park, according to witnesses. Police later arrested a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of attempted murder. He is being questioned at a north London police station.

The attack was the fifth stabbing of a teenager in the capital in the past three days. Scotland Yard said detectives were investigating one possibility that the attack was linked to gangs.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer and impresario, had just visited the school. Last year, for the first time, one of its pupils was accepted by Oxford University, to study music. This follows a programme based on a scheme in The Bronx, a deprived area of New York.

Lloyd Webber used Highbury Grove as the venue to launch The Music in Secondary Schools Trust, which will give children from schools in deprived areas – with limited access to the arts – their own instruments and compulsory music education.