The car was found on Wednesday in the nearby Carlisle Road area of Leyton, a few hundred metres away from where Jayden Moodie was murdered. No arrests have yet been made.
Moodie, believed to be the youngest knife crime victim to die on London’s streets in the past year, was murdered in an area notorious for drug dealing and blighted by so-called county lines gangs. Police said they believe the attack was “targeted and intent on lethal force from the outset”.
Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker told reporters he could not sleep for thinking about what had happened to such a young boy, the Press Association reported. He said of the boy’s age: “I think that will strike a chord with so many people and so many parents across the UK.”
The senior police officer urged members of the public to assist the force with its enquiries, praising those who had already come forward.
Tucker said: “The vast majority of people support the police but we want the people who actually know what’s going on to come forward.
“Those people have a choice to support, not just the police but, the local community, to make the place better or to let this carry on.
“It’s exhausting (...) the messaging that people receive in terms of ‘don’t snitch’,” he said.
Moodie’s sister, 18-year-old Leah Moodie, told The Times newspaper she fears he will become another knife-crime “statistic”. She said: “He was caring, he was compassionate. He was just a 14-year-old boy.
“He wasn’t in a gang, this wasn’t gang violence. I’m scared he’ll be remembered as a statistic.”
The teenager, who lived in the area with his mother, was knocked off the moped by a black Mercedes B Class at around 6.30pm on Tuesday in Bickley Road, Leyton, and then stabbed several times by three attackers as he lay unconscious in the road.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Soole from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are treating the recovery of the car as a significant development in our enquiries, which are still very much in their early stages.
“Jayden’s family are being fully supported and kept updated by our team. This is a truly heartbreaking time for them and we are doing everything we can to find out who was responsible for Jayden’s death.”
Tucker said it was too early to ascertain a motive or say whether an incident a few streets away from the crime scene on Wednesday when a man was slashed across the face was linked.
He said: “The overriding factor is he’s 14 years old. A lot of people are saying ‘young man’ – he’s not. He’s a boy. He’s 14.
“It’s shocking, it’s an appalling event and this will have affected huge numbers of our young people and we’ve got additional officers in the area, and at schools, to actually reassure people that they are safe in east London.”
When questioned about why Moodie was on a moped when the legal age to ride one is 16-years-old, Tucker dismissed it as a “separate issue”
“I don’t want to deflect on that because, whatever he was doing, he didn’t deserve to die,” he said.
When asked whether or not the teenager was known to the police, Tucker declined to respond.
Retired Met Police superintendent Leroy Logan said he was “devastated” to hear of the incident and said it was vital for authorities to recognise there is a “crisis” ongoing.
“I’ve been working on a non-parliamentary, youth violence commission, for the last few years. A safer lives survey in July shows that fear is one of the main issues behind someone carrying a knife,” he added.
“Then, there’s a direct correlation between exclusions from school (and violent crime); all of these increase the vulnerability of a person getting involved in any form of violence.
“A lot of these young people are suffering from adverse childhood experiences, come from traumatised communities and, also, mental health is a big issue.
“So we’ve got a perfect storm of young people normalising violence because of trauma and they should not just be seen as suspects but also safeguarding cases. They are not to be seen as just prisoners but also patients.”
A section 60 order was put in place to allow officers to search anyone in the vicinity of the scene for weapons.
Jayden’s godmother Zoe Grant, who lives in Nottingham, paid tribute to the 14-year-old by saying: “He was full of life, fun loving and a ray of sunshine. He was a beautiful boy, so intelligent, had everything to live for.
“He went to London and then this happens – it’s just so unfair.
“He was very dearly loved by everybody.
“Jayden was a good kid. 14 is no life – it’s not fair.”
A family friend, who gave his name as Solomon, said the schoolboy, a talented boxer, was a “wonderful” and “loving” child.
Describing himself as Jayden’s “acting grandfather”, he said the system was “really letting down the youth”.
“They don’t come on the streets because they want to – they don’t have a choice,” he said.
“They need to be given a chance to breathe like everyone else in the world.”
In 2018, around a fifth (17%) of homicide victims in London were teenagers, most of whom were stabbed. The youngest were aged 15.
The borough where Jayden died, Waltham Forest, has has been blighted by gang crime, with the local authority ploughing £3m over the next four years into a prevention programme.
Police patrols were stepped up in the wake of the murder.