Two youths die after New Year stabbings

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The Independent Online

New Year celebrations ended in tragedy when two teenagers were stabbed to death in separate incidents as they made their way home from parties.

In Edmonton, north London, an 18-year-old was chased down the street and knifed after getting off a night bus with a group of friends. The group were on their way home after an evening seeing in the new year in central London, but got into a row with a group of youths, police said.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the victim was believed to have got off the bus with nine friends of about the same age: "Shortly after they got off the bus they became involved in an argument with a group of youths who were in the street. The victim and his friends were chased along Fore Street and into Plevna Road where he was stabbed," said the spokesman.

Officers were called to the area at 6.30am. Police said they believed they knew the man's identity but had yet to inform next of kin of his death. They said he was unlikely to be named before a post- mortem examination scheduled for this afternoon at Hornsey mortuary.

The second death happened in Leicester. Bradley Whitfield, 16, a college student, was believed to have been stabbed with a broken bottle after leaving a party. He was declared dead at the scene of the stabbing at 5.15am. Four people have been arrested: a 14-year-old boy, a 15-year old girl, a 31-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man.

Det Ch Insp Phil Smith, who is leading the investigation, said: "We are in the very early stages of the investigation and are trying to piece together exactly what happened."

The killings got 2008 off to a grim start after a 12-month period in which at least 50 teenagers were murdered. In London, 27 teenagers were killed in 2007, eight of them shot, one beaten to death, most of the rest stabbed. Their average age was 16. Sixteen of the victims were black.

The Metropolitan Police have said it was the worst 12 months for youth violence in recent memory. Children as young as 13 have been charged in connection with the deaths, officers say, and the youngest victims were both aged 14.

Before the 18-year-old's death in Edmonton, the most recent teenage death in London was the stabbing of Nassirudeen Osawe, 16, who died after an altercation at a bus stop in Islington. Police are investigating the possibility that Nassirudeen, an A-level student, was the victim of a turf war between so-called postcode gangs.

Teenage murders in 2007

* 1 January 2007: Stephen Boachie, 17, stabbed in Barking.

* 9 January: Dean Rashid Lahlou, 18, stabbed in Tottenham.

* 21 January: Jevon Henry, 18, stabbed in Maida Vale.

* 3 February: James Andre Smartt- Ford, 16, above right, shot outside Streatham ice rink.

* 6 February: Michael Dosunumu, 15, shot in bedroom of his home in Peckham.

* 14 February: Billy Cox, 15, shot dead in his bedroom in Clapham by a rival drugs gang.

* 3 March: Kodjo Yenga, 16, stabbed in Hammersmith.

* 17 March: Adam Regis, 15, stabbed in Plaistow,

* 16 April: Paul Erhahon, 14, stabbed in Leytonstone.

* 18 May: Dwaine Douglas, 18, above left, stabbed in a street fight in Thornton Heath.

* 28 May: Danielle Johnson, 17. Stabbed and beaten in Palmers Green.

* 19 June: Sian Simpson, 18, stabbed in Croydon in a row between two groups of girls.

* 23 June: Annaka Pinto, 17, shot trying to intervene in a row in Tottenham.

* 23 June: Ben Hitchcock, 16, stabbed in Beckenham.

* 26 June: Martin Dinnegan, 14, stabbed by a gang in Holloway.

* 27 June: Abu Shahin, 18, attacked in Ilford.

* 26 July: Abukar Mahamud, 16, shot in the neck after being chased by youths on bikes in Stockwell.

* 3 August: Nathan Foster, 18. Shot in Brixton.

* 30 August: Mohammed Ahmed, 17, stabbed in Ilford.

* 16 September: Edvin Johnson, 19, stabbed in Camberwell.

* 7 October: Rizwan Darbar, 17, stabbed during a mobile phone robbery in West Ham Park.

* 14 October: Philip Poru, 18, shot while sitting in a car in Woolwich.

* 14 November: Etem Celebi, 17, shot in Hackney.

* 17 November: Biendi Litambola, 17, beaten to death in Canning Town.

* 30 November: Jack Large, 14, stabbed in a fight in Chigwell.

* 16 December: David Nowak, 16. Stabbed in Stoke Newington.

* 27 December: Nassirudeen Osawe, 17. Stabbed in Islington.