Station murder gang 'wore school uniform'

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The Independent Online

A gang wearing school uniform knifed a 15-year-old boy to death after cornering him at one of Britain's busiest stations, witnesses said today.

Police told commuters today that they were "stepping up" patrols at Victoria station in central London after Tube workers told how up to 10 schoolboys carried out the attack after chasing the victim through the ticket hall.

Detectives are quizzing several people over the stabbing shortly before 5.20pm yesterday, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

One Transport for London ticket office worker, who declined to be named, said: "My colleague was right there as it unfolded. The boys attacking him couldn't have been any older than him as they were wearing a dark blue school uniform."

The boy suffered serious stab wounds to his upper body and died in hospital.

Another member of staff, who also did not want to be named, said: "I saw too much, I saw him on the ground bleeding. I've been working but I think the shock of it has only just come down on me now."

Other TfL staff said they had been given a "gagging order" preventing them from talking to the press.

Sarfraz Ahmed, who manages a shop in an arcade at the station, said youngsters had been causing trouble for a few weeks.

He said: "One day last week a gang chased a boy into a shop and attacked him and trashed the place. They are about 15 or 16 and come here on their bikes. This place has been like a bloody jungle."

A BTP spokesman confirmed the incident took place near the booking office for the District and Circle Underground lines.

He said: "Officers are working to identify the man and to make contact with next of kin."

The incident caused disruption to Tube passengers as District and Circle line trains did not stop at Victoria and the ticket hall was closed while the police investigation continued.

A TfL spokeswoman said Victoria line services were not affected and the ticket hall in that part of the Tube station remained open.

District and Circle line trains resumed at Victoria when the Tube station reopened this morning.

Forensic officers appeared to have completed their investigations today as the thoroughfare was cleared for the busy morning rush-hour.

A screaming row broke out between schoolboys of the same age inside the mainline railway station at Victoria the night before the attack, one commuter said.

Police were "struggling" to keep the incident under control, said John Angeli, 47, from Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

He added: "There was a very tense situation just outside WH Smith - there was a big kerfuffle with about 10 or 15 kids all screaming. They were all in uniform, aged about 15 or 16.

"There were about two or three British Transport Police officers all struggling to keep things under control.

"I only watched it all for a couple of minutes but I saw the police call for back-up to bring things under control. I assume nobody was hurt."

During the incident on the concourse inside the station at 6pm on Wednesday, Mr Angeli said three or four boys pushed past him to join in the fight.

He added: "I'm not sure if they had been called on their mobile phones."

British Transport Police said the victim was 15 years old and his family have been told of his death.

A spokesman said the boy died in hospital after being tended by police and paramedics.

A total of 20 people have been arrested over the stabbing and were being questioned by police this morning.

The spokesman added: "We are working closely with our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident and ask anyone with any information about the incident to get in touch."

Anyone with information should call 0800 40 50 40.