Four people have been stabbed to death during a string of apparently unrelated murders in London during a 24-hour period, police said.
Scotland Yard confirmed the male victims – a 17-year-old, 18-year-old and a 20-year-old on New Year’s Eve, and a 20-year-old in the early hours of Monday – all died as a result of their injuries.
A fifth man is in a critical condition after the New Year’s Day incident.
Five men have been arrested in connection with one of the deaths, the Metropolitan Police said.
Sunday’s stabbings took place in various locations across the capital – at 11.30am in Larmans Road, Enfield, 7.35pm at Memorial Avenue in West Ham, and 10.40pm in Norwood Road in Tulse Hill.
The New Year’s Day stabbing occurred at Bartholomew Court, Old Street, in the City.
Met Commander Neil Jerome said the incidents were not connected.
He added: “I am grateful to Londoners and visitors to the capital who co-operated with police – both at major celebrations in Westminster and at thousands of organised and private events across London – to enable the vast majority of people to enjoy New Year’s Eve.
“However, there were small groups who chose to engage in disorder and violence, and whose actions have had utterly tragic consequences.
A police tent is erected in Norwood Road in Tulse Hill (Luke Mintz/PA)
“It is heart-breaking that, at a time when so many of us are contemplating what lies ahead in 2018, four families are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one to senseless violence and the callous use of knives as lethal weapons.
“I can assure Londoners – and the families and friends of the four males killed and the fifth who remains in hospital – that detectives will work tirelessly to bring to justice those responsible for such despicable acts of violence.”
Met Commander Neil Jerome said the incidents were not connected (Luke Mintz/PA)
The trio of fatalities in the final hours of 2017 took the number of people stabbed to death in the capital last year to 80, Scotland Yard confirmed.
The latest deaths will be seen as a setback to London mayor Sadiq Khan and his aim to get a stranglehold on the year-on-year increase in knife crime in the capital, which has seen the launch of a high-profile “London needs you alive” campaign and knife crime strategy.
At his last Mayor’s Question Time, Mr Khan said: “Every death on the streets of London is an utter tragedy and I’m deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime.
“I am supporting the delivery of community-led solutions and delivering interventions at critical points to offer real opportunities to exit offending behaviour as well as coming down hard on those who habitually carry knives.”
In a statement following the latest stabbings, Mr Khan renewed police appeals for information.
He added: “The police have today assured me that everything is being done to bring to justice those responsible for these appalling acts of violence.
“The police were out in force helping people enjoy our city’s fantastic celebrations last night, and I thank them. However, it is horrific that knife crime has claimed another four young lives as the New Year begins.
“We will work tirelessly in 2018 and beyond to stamp out this scourge.
“I want to be absolutely clear – if you use a knife the full force of the law will be brought down on you. You will be caught and prosecuted.”