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‘Our lives ended when Sami’s life was taken away’: Father of stabbed teenager speaks out

PUBLISHED: 17:39 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:01 03 December 2018

Sami Sidhom. Picture: SAMER SIDHOM

Sami Sidhom. Picture: SAMER SIDHOM

Archant

A father whose only child was stabbed to death coming home from a West Ham game has spoken for the first time about losing his son.

Samer Sidhom, the father of murder victim Sami Sidhom. Picture: KEN MEARSSamer Sidhom, the father of murder victim Sami Sidhom. Picture: KEN MEARS

Sami Sidhom was 18 when he was attacked in Chestnut Avenue, Forest Gate, dying yards from his front door.

His dad, Samer Sidhom, speaking seven months since the fatal attack on April 16 – believed to be a case of mistaken identity – said: “I miss him everyday, from the time I wake up, to the time I go to bed at night.

“It’s been devastating for the family. Sami was more than my son. He was my best friend. We used to do everything together, go everywhere together.

“There is no place I go to where I don’t miss him.”

Floral tributes close to where Sami died. Picture: KEN MEARSFloral tributes close to where Sami died. Picture: KEN MEARS

He described his son as a brilliant young man who would take his grandmother to hospital and doctor’s appointments.

“He was everything to her,” Mr Sidhom said. “She has been devastated. Our lives ended when Sami’s life was taken away.”

Sami was studying law and history at Queen Mary University of London after taking A-levels at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form.

“He would help all his friends. He was top of his class. He had friends from all races. They miss him as well,” Mr Sidhom said.

Det Ch Insp Mark Wrigley. Picture: KEN MEARSDet Ch Insp Mark Wrigley. Picture: KEN MEARS

A season ticket holder, Sami regularly saw West Ham play at its London Stadium ground where fans held a one-minute applause in honour of their fellow supporter.

Keen on multi-player video games, when opponents from around the world found out he had been murdered they changed their avatar characters to read ‘RIP Sami’.

Well-wishers also took part in a peace walk from Forest Gate to Woolwich and held a vigil on Wanstead Flats.

Mr Sidhom said: “The community has been brilliant. They were touched by what happened because it could have been any one of their children.”

Sami’s dad was speaking near where his son died, launching an appeal for witnesses to come forward. A £20,000 reward has been offered to anyone who has information leading to a conviction.

He said: “If you have any information, please come forward. Sami didn’t deserve to die. He was just returning from a football match and someone decided to take his life away. They took everything from him and from the family.

“So if you have any information, please come forward.”

So far police have arrested eight youths aged from 15 to 22.

Floral tributes close to where Sami died. Picture: KEN MEARSFloral tributes close to where Sami died. Picture: KEN MEARS

On the thought Sami’s killers were still at large, Mr Sidhom said: “It makes me angry that they are still walking the streets.

“It’s possible they could do this again. I wouldn’t want to see any family go through what we have been through.”

Det Ch Insp Mark Wrigley, leading the investigation, said pieces of the puzzle about what happened still remain.

Sami had travelled back from the match by bus and had been walking along Woodgrange Road into Sebert Road.

Samer Sidhom, the father of murder victim Sami Sidhom. Picture: KEN MEARSSamer Sidhom, the father of murder victim Sami Sidhom. Picture: KEN MEARS

But he took a longer route home along Cranmer Road to avoid a gang of men seen attacking people in a car near railway arches in Avenue Road.

DCI Wrigley said individuals in a small, silver car later spotted Sami, possibly mistaking him for one of the people they were fighting.

Three people jumped out and chased Sami down the street, stabbing him close to his front door.

He urged witnesses to the fight in Avenue Road or to the attack to come forward.

“The community has been very brave in coming forward. Sami’s family has been fantastic despite everything they’re going through,” DCI Wrigley said.

He called on anyone involved in the Avenue Road fight to contact police.

“A young man was taken from his family pointlessly. This was a cowardly attack by three individuals on one, defenceless young man. Sami was not involved in any criminality. Now is the time people need to come forward,” he added.

Anyone with information should call 020 8345 3715 or tweet @MetCC or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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