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Deadly violence in Newham ‘is nothing short of a tragedy’

PUBLISHED: 12:29 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:45 17 October 2017

Police and forensic officers at the scene of a shooting near Tom Hood Close, Maryland

Police and forensic officers at the scene of a shooting near Tom Hood Close, Maryland

Archant

The boss of a charity behind an anti-knife campaign has spoken out following another wave of knife and gun crime in Newham.

Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) chief executive Natasha Hart, second from right, says her charity supports young people through basketball. Picture: Natasha HartNewham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) chief executive Natasha Hart, second from right, says her charity supports young people through basketball. Picture: Natasha Hart

Natasha Hart, chief executive of Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA), said: “What is happening at the moment in Newham is nothing short of a tragedy and our thoughts go out to all of the families affected by it.

“We have always believed that young people have to be educated about the dangers of knife crime and gang culture, as well as being given the chance to focus their energies elsewhere.”

Her comments come as one man was killed and two others were injured in just three days of violence in the east London borough.

A 20-year-old man was stabbed to death in Plashet Park, East Ham, on Sunday shortly after 4pm in front of horrified families.

Police arrested a boy, 16, on suspicion of the man’s murder. He remains in custody at a east London police station.

On Thursday night at about 11pm, a man in his twenties was shot in Tom Hood Close, Maryland, moments away from Well Street, where 19-year-old RAF cadet Abdul Mayanja was fatally gunned down on August 25.

Hours earlier at 3.30pm, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in the chest and leg in Plashet Road, Upton Park.

Neither individual has life-threatening injuries and no arrests have been made.

Gang warfare has been responsible for several recent incidents in the borough, something Newham’s police chief admitted last month was a result of “tit for tat from one gang to another”.

Borough commander Ade Adelekan was forced to authorise stop and search powers after two teenage boys were shot in Moore Walk, Forest Gate on September 4.

One of these, 14-year-old Corey Junior Davis, died after being blasted in the head with a shotgun as he sat nearby a playground.

His mother, Keisha McLeod, has said said she believes her son was at risk of being groomed by gangs.

NASSA, which runs basketball sessions for 2,000 school children each week, set up its “Carry a Basketball, Not a Blade” campaign in 2008 after player Anthony Okereafor lost two friends to knife crime within weeks of one another.

Natasha says she believes more schemes for young people are needed to help tackle the issues.

She said: “We don’t pretend to offer the only solution to this problem, but if more opportunities were to exist for young people to indulge in healthy, safe activities such as sport, that can only help as far as we are concerned.”

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