- Louis Johnson, 16, was attacked by a suspect carrying a foot-long machete
- Commuters froze in horror as he staggered along a footbridge screaming in pain
- Before collapsing in a pool of blood at East Croydon station in south London
A boy of 16 was stabbed to death at a packed railway station – hours after an initial attempt on his life.
Louis Johnson was on his way home to his mother when he was attacked by a suspect carrying a foot-long machete.
Commuters froze in horror as he staggered along a footbridge screaming in pain before collapsing in a pool of blood at East Croydon station in south London.
It is the ninth murder in the capital already this year – and the latest example of ‘Wild West Britain’.
The number of killings in London hit a ten-year high last year following a surge in knife and gang violence.
Friends paid tribute to Louis, saying he was the ‘kindest, loveliest person’ who just wanted to make his mother happy.
They said the teenager, who was wearing a tag at the time he was killed on Monday afternoon, had once been ‘badly behaved’ but was getting his life back on track.
But they fear he may have been caught up in a ‘postcode war’ among rival gangs.
The first attack on Louis came at 11am. The second followed a youth offending team meeting in Battersea, where staff offered him a £50 Tesco voucher if he was home with his mother by 6pm.
He reached East Croydon station at around 4.30pm and was ambushed while crossing a footbridge connecting two platforms.
The 40-second attack ended with his killer vanishing into the rush-hour throng.
Horrified commuters looked on as security staff comforted Louis and waited for the emergency services.
A 20-year-old witness said the teenager was ‘screaming out the whole time in pain’ in a pool of blood. He was declared dead at the scene.
It is understood that Louis and his attacker were known to each other but it had not been an arranged meeting.
British Transport Police are looking for two suspects.
A 16-year-old friend, who gave her name as Ashanti from Catford, said Louis had told her of the first attack, adding: ‘We know he was scared for his life and he knew he was going to lose his life.’
WHERE THE NINE MURDERS IN LONDON DURING 2020 HAVE BEEN COMMITTED
|1||William Algar||53||Jan 3||4.57pm||Nowell Road||Barnes|
|2||Takieddine Boudhane||30||Jan 3||6.50pm||Charteris Road||Finsbury Park|
|3||Krasimir Kartikov||60||Jan 13||8.50am||Whitehorse Road||Croydon|
|4||Harinder Kumar||22||Jan 19||7.38pm||Elmstead Road||Seven Kings|
|5||Narinder Singh||26||Jan 19||7.38pm||Elmstead Road||Seven Kings|
|6||Baljit Singh||34||Jan 19||7.38pm||Elmstead Road||Seven Kings|
|7||Beverley Denahy||61||Jan 22||11.35pm||Waverley Avenue||Chingford|
|8||Unnamed man||60s||Jan 24||11.29pm||Mount Pleasant Lane||Clapton|
|9||Louis Johnson||16||Jan 27||4.45pm||East Croydon station||Croydon|
LONDON MURDERS 2020
Where the nine murders across the capital this year have happened
- William Algar, 53, Jan-03, Barnes
- Takieddine Boudhane, 30, Jan-03, Finsbury Park
- Krasimir Kartikov, 60, Jan-13, Croydon
- Harinder Kumar, 22, Jan-19, Seven Kings
- Narinder Singh, 26, Jan-19, Seven Kings
- Baljit Singh, 34, Jan-19, Seven Kings
- Beverley Denahy, 61, Jan-22, Chingford
- Unnamed man, 60s, Jan-24, Clapton
- Louis Johnson, 16, Jan-27, Croydon
Another friend, 16-year-old Mia from Lewisham, said: ‘He had come so far. He used to be a badly behaved kid and this year was his year to step up his game and prove everyone wrong.
‘He just wanted to make it in life. He liked making money in whatever ways he could.
‘He just wanted to live a peaceful life. He was happy looking after his mum and [was] the kindest, loveliest person.’
She added: ‘It is so easy to buy a machete online in five seconds and click and collect.’
Louis was not in school and instead attended a pupil referral unit, according to a charity worker who laid flower tributes by the police cordon today.
Chantal Goodridge, who supports children affected by violence at Croydon-based charity Off The Record, said Louis was supposed to be getting a taxi home.
She said: ‘It is really sad. He was meant to be getting a cab home from Battersea but he ended up catching the train instead.
‘We don’t know if this was gang related at this time but one thing that is really clear is that youth related violence is a big issue at the moment.
‘I did not know him personally but I know that he was not in school and he went to a PRU (pupil referral unit) in Wandsworth.
‘I don’t know the reason why but such units are for young people who might have been excluded from school or not have had access to a school for other reasons.’
Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blackburn of British Transport Police said: ‘This was a senseless killing at an extremely busy time of the day, and my thoughts are with Louis’s family.
‘I would like to reassure everyone that a thorough investigation is well under way.’
Croydon Central Labour MP Sarah Jones, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, tweeted: ‘This brutal loss of a young life is another reminder that tackling violence must be our highest priority.’