Clapton Community FC members demand 'Justice for Sami' outside Forest Gate Police Station
- Credit: Jon King
Members of a fan-owned football club have demanded justice for a teenager who was killed on his way home from a match.
Four Clapton Community Football Club members unfurled a banner reading "Justice for Sami" outside Forest Gate Police Station on Friday, April 16.
The date marks three years since Sami Sidhom was fatally stabbed in Chestnut Avenue, Forest Gate.
The 18-year-old student was walking home after watching West Ham United play at London Stadium when he was attacked. His killers have not been caught.
Club member Annu Mayor said: "It has been three years. That's a thousand days where Sami's family have been in pain. They haven't had any answers.
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"The police are asking for help and the family need justice for Sami."
Ms Mayor - who is on Newham's Youth Safety Board but was speaking in a personal capacity - asked what the police are doing to improve trust with young people.
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The issue was raised at a public meeting about preventing youth violence in May 2018. It was prompted by Sami's death and that of Corey Junior Davis who was shot dead in a Forest Gate playground in 2017.
A Met spokesperson said: "We recognise building and maintaining relationships of trust with young people is essential to delivering strong community policing. [We are] working hard to find new ways to overcome the challenges involved."
They pointed to links with schools, the council and community groups as well as increased efforts to tackle crimes affecting youngsters.
Work to raise awareness of the signs of criminal exploitation is also taking place, alongside safer neighbourhood panel meetings in schools.
An independent advisory group for young people to voice their concerns to officers has been set up in Newham.
On the club's support, Samer Sidhom - Sami's dad - said it was heartwarming for the family to know people are thinking of his son.
But he blamed cuts to youth services, mental health support and police numbers for driving the wave of violence which swept the capital at the time of Sami's death.
On the investigation, Samer said: "You start wondering whether [Sami's killers] will ever be brought to justice.
"I know [the police] are trying their best. We plead with people to come forward. Sami was totally innocent."
Anyone with information should call detectives on 020 8345 3715.