Three arrested over murder of schoolboy

Fatal stabbing prompts urgent investigation as survey reveals worrying increase in violent crime among children
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The Independent Online

Three teenagers were arrested yesterday in connection with the murder of Kieran Rodney-Davis, 15, the schoolboy who was stabbed to death while out shopping.

Scotland Yard said that two 16-year-olds and another youth aged 17 were arrested at 1.30am at their homes in south-west London and taken into custody.

Results of a post-mortem examination revealed that the teenager died from a single stab wound to the chest, during what police believe was a mobile phone street robbery.

Kieran was killed just yards from home and close to Hurlingham and Chelsea School in Fulham in west London after he went out on an errand. Three black youths wearing balaclavas or bandana-style scarves over their faces were seen running away after the attack.

The killing has prompted the Youth Justice Board (YJB), the official body responsible for tackling juvenile crime, to launch an urgent investigation into the rise in gang-related violence among children. New figures from the board, based on a Mori poll of 5,000 children, show that one in four 11- to 16-year-olds now carry weapons, including knives. The figure rises to almost one in two among children excluded from school.

The survey also shows that increasing numbers of young people are becoming victims of crime. Last year, 49 per cent were targeted by criminals. The most common crimes included mobile phone theft as well as bullying.

Last year, Sir Charles Pollard, the former head of the YJB, warned that weapon-carrying had become so widespread that some pupils now regarded stabbing as acceptable if they avoided the heart. The YJB told The Independent on Sunday that its inquiry would identify the risk factors that led to children joining gangs and using weapons including guns and knives.

Due to be published next summer, the results will form the basis of new policies aimed at tackling the rise of "feral" children, usually boys, who grow up outside the law.

"There are young lads growing up outside the rules and regulations of society who think those rules don't apply to them," a YJB spokeswoman said.

The YJB, which is responsible for tackling anti-social behaviour among young people, has introduced numerous measures to reduce youth crime and truancy.

These include stationing police officers in schools and restorative justice schemes where bullies are made to face their victims.