Police are seeking three teenage boys in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old, who died from a single stab wound to his neck.
Yemurai Kanyangarara bled to death on the pavement in Welling, south-east London, on Friday evening, seconds after getting off a bus. The detective leading the case said the killing was among the worst he had investigated in 25 years.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne said the attack was an act of "sheer brutality against a defenceless schoolboy", adding that the stabbing, on a busy street, was "about as bad as it gets".
Witnesses said that three boys who got off another bus at an earlier stop walked to where Yemurai and his friend were getting off their bus. One of the three quickly stabbed Yemurai with a sharp weapon which he had hidden in his clothes.
Shop workers described their futile efforts to help the wounded teenager. Angela Read, 48, a florist, was among those trying to save the boy's life. "We tried to suppress the bleeding, but if you had been a top professional you wouldn't have saved the lad ... we watched his life slip away in front of us."
He was pronounced dead at nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Plumstead.
Yemurai, who was brought to Britain from Zimbabwe when he was a toddler, was a pupil at St Columba's Catholic Boys' School in Bexleyheath, where he had recently finished sitting his GCSE exams.
Mr Dunne tried to deflect suggestions of gang violence by dismissing talk of a rift between the boy's school and another. Police said they suspected that Yemurai knew his attackers.
The youngster had been living with his father, Kelton Kanyangarara, in Leicester since January and had returned to his mother, Sharon Jambawo, a hospital worker, in London only to do his exams.
His family have yet to speak publicly about the death but the school's headmaster last night described him as a "very popular, kind, gentle and hard-working lad".
A man arrested in connection with the investigation has been released without further action.Reuse content