The family of a 14-year-old boy stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off his moped have said he was “murdered in cold blood”.
Jayden Moodie was killed in Waltham Forest, east London, on Tuesday evening after being struck by a car and knifed to death in what police believe was a targeted attack.
In a statement paying tribute to Moodie, a family spokesman said he was not affiliated with gangs, adding that he “deserves a fair chance at justice”.
On Wednesday, police traced down the black Mercedes car believed to have knocked the teenager down at a location near Leyton in east London.
Described as having an “infectious” character and charm, his family added that Moodie was keenly interested in bikes, and “loved learning how to fix them”.
He was due to start at a boxing academy this month, the statement added.
“He had a huge heart and would do anything for everyone, especially his family. He will be sincerely missed,” the spokesman said.
“Jayden was a 14-year-old minor who had his whole life ahead of him, which should never have been viciously taken from him.”
The teenager had recently moved to the capital from Nottingham, and his family appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
His family said: “It was very distressing that the majority of reports about Jayden have mentioned London gangs, and I would like to stress that Jayden had recently moved from Nottingham to London and had absolutely no affiliation with gangs.
“If there are people in our streets that are capable of killing a 14-year-old child, then no-one is safe, and they need to be caught and brought to justice.
“If anyone has any information regarding the incident please come forward and help us get justice for Jayden as no-one deserves to die in that horrific way.
“We take this opportunity to ask people to respect our family’s privacy at this difficult time. Thank you everyone and God bless.”
Moodie is believed to be the youngest knife crime victim to die in London in the past year, with the capital witnessing 132 murders in 2018.
HuffPost UK spoke to local residents in Waltham Forest on Thursday night and heard about fears over the surge in violence in the area.
“This area’s getting from bad to worse,” said a college student among the crowd at the crime scene.
“Over the past couple of years it seems like more stabbings in London - we hear about it too often to not be concerned. It’s not a good look.
“I didn’t know this kid (Jayden) personally but I saw him around and he seemed cool. It’s sad.”
A resident of the Leyton area, Clayton Brown, echoed the student’s concerns, saying that violence is becoming more commonplace in east London.
“Even still,” he added, “you don’t expect to turn on the news and find out that a child has been killed on your doorstep.
“14-years-old? That’s no age at all. Listening to the family member speak about this whole ordeal, through their pain, was difficult.”
“Jayden was two years older than my youngest son,” said Yvette Cooper.
“I am seriously thinking about moving my family out of London, myself and two boys, because everyday I fear for their safety. I can’t imagine how Jayden’s mum is feeling.”