Police have launched a murder investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old boy in Reading.
The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene after Thames Valley Police were alerted to reports of a stabbing in Bugs Bottom fields, Emmer Green, at 3.50pm on Sunday.
No arrests have yet been made and officers said that although the boy’s next of kin had been informed, no formal identification had taken place.
Detective Superintendent Kevin Brown, the senior investigating officer and head of Thames Valley Police’s major crime unit, said the investigation was “fast-moving and dynamic”.
“We are in the very early stages of this investigation, but we believe that the victim was attacked by two or three males, who made off after the incident in the direction of Hunters Chase,” Det Supt Brown said.
He also said there would be “a very considerable police presence in the area of St Barnabus Road and Gravel Hill for a number of days” and that the force now has “a very large scene-watch in place”.
“I would appeal to anybody who was in Gravel Hill this afternoon and believes that they witnessed anything that could help this investigation to please make contact with police if you have not already done so,” he added.
Det Supt Brown continued: “This is an area that is used extensively by dog walkers, and I believe that there will have been witnesses to this dreadful incident, or who may have seen the offenders leaving the area quickly.
“I would ask anybody who was driving or cycling in the area and has either a dash-cam or a head-cam to please check the footage between 3pm and 4.30pm, and get in touch if it has captured anything that may assist this investigation.
“Similarly, many families walk in the area, and so if anybody has taken photographs within the area around that time to please check these and contact us if you have picked up anything suspicious.”
Police say they are also keen to speak with anyone with CCTV footage who may provide more information about the killing.
Local policing area commander for Reading, Superintendent Nick John, added: “This is a shocking incident, and I would like to reassure the community that we are working tirelessly to locate the offenders and bring them into custody.
“Naturally, this incident will cause huge concern in the local community, and I fully understand those concerns.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call 101, quoting incident reference 1069 of 3 January.
“We have a strong local community, and I would encourage anybody who has any information that would help us to locate the offenders, please contact us, and you can do so in the strictest confidence,” Supt John said on Sunday.
“We are in the very early stages of this ongoing incident, and I can assure you all that we are working to ascertain what has happened and arrest anybody suspected of being involved.”
Additional reporting by Press Association