Police and paramedics try in vain to save a teenager stabbed to death amid crowds of Boxing Day sales shoppers yesterday.
The 18-year-old–named locally today as Seydou Diarrassouba–is said to have been killed after a fight erupted between rival gangs over which trainers to steal from a sportswear shop in London’s jam-packed Oxford Street.
Cops recovered several weapons including a flick knife from the scene. Eleven suspects were held.
One witness told how a feral gang shoved parents and children aside as they chased down the terrified victim before murdering him in broad daylight.
Frightened families took refuge in shops as he collapsed in a pool of blood.
And the witness–a woman shopping with her husband and baby daughter–said: “I hope that one day I will forget his eyes and the monsters who were chasing him.”
The savagery erupted at lunchtime as tens of thousands of Boxing Day bargain hunters thronged London’s Oxford Street.
There were claims that two rival gangs from South London had argued over which designer trainers they aimed to steal from a branch of Foot Locker.
The murder follows violent struggles in the US between shoppers battling to buy pairs of Nike’s new Air Jordan basketball-style trainers, though the limited edition shoes are not thought to be available here yet.
Another lad aged 21 was stabbed in the thigh by three attackers nearly five hours after the Foot Locker murder outside the nearby Nike Town store.
A pile of blood-soaked clothes was left on the ground there along with what looked like a pair of brand-new Nike Air trainers.
Police who arrested two suspects could not make a “firm” link between the two stabbings. But they said: “There are similar circumstances, youths possibly from the South London area.”
The gangs in the Foot Locker incident clashed outside the shop before a fight broke out inside.
The 18-year-old, named by pals under his street name Seydou Nutz, made a run for it chased by at least seven young thugs.
The woman witness–a 32-year-old admin assistant too scared to be named–said:
“I was near Foot Locker when all hell broke loose. Someone pushed me from behind and darted past.
“I swung round and could see seven people chasing this lad.
“I will remember the faces of these monsters all my life, though some were part-covered by hoods.
“They were desperate to get hold of him and were screaming and shouting, pushing people out of their way. One leapt up as he ran to try to almost jump through the crowd.
“The lad being chased sprinted into Foot Locker. He looked absolutely terrified. His face was etched with desperation to escape.
“While he was in the shop something obviously spooked him as he came out again. Maybe he couldn’t pass the crowds.
“As he came out I knew they were going to catch him. One of the men going after him looked so aggressive and angry. All they wanted to do was get him.
“We hid inside Boots and when we went out there was this crowd around him.”
A stall-holder selling fruit and veg nearby said: “The man was stabbed straight into his stomach. The blade was very long–it was a big knife. Everyone was so shocked.”
Police had already been called by the time the teenager was knifed. Armed cops rushed to the scene and were joined by paramedics who made a desperate–but vain–attempt to revive him.
A teacher shopping with her young niece said: “They were trying to bring him back to life and there was a friend holding his hand. When they told his friend he wasn’t going to make it he just dropped the hand and started screaming.”
Another witness said: “After a while they put a cover on his body.”
Ten suspects aged in their late teens or early 20s were arrested nearby.
A number of weapons including a flick knife were recovered at the scene, which was cordoned off from the hordes of shoppers.
A section of Oxford Street was closed and branches of Boots and Debenhams were forced to shut, costing them dearly.
Inquiry chief Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne, of the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Command, said the murder had taken place at the “busiest place in the United Kingdom on the busiest shopping day”.
He added: “It has therefore been difficult for us to piece together what happened and to clear this area.
“The flipside is we have probably more witnesses than usual. And I’m looking forward to them speaking to us.”
The victim is thought to be from Tooting and may be Somali. News of his murder spread swiftly across social networking websites, prompting a string of despairing posts.
Rapper and actor Bashy, 26, said: “I heard someone has been stabbed & killed up Oxford Street. What’s wrong with these p*****? Lil kids & families are up there too. Disgusting.”
A pal of the dead lad going by the name of “Ozzmosis_Jones” wrote: “R.I.P. Seydou Nutz. Gone too soon ma bruddah.”