IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Armed teens in rampage around shopping centre

Shocking footage shows violence spilling out into Upper Street

17 March, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Police officers pursue teenagers at Angel Central Shopping Centre as violence broke out involving youngsters yesterday (Thursday)

CHAOS broke out in Angel yesterday (Thursday) as gangs of teenagers tore through a shopping centre armed with bicycle locks and leather belts.

It is the fifth brawl in little over a week that is believed to have involved students – boys and girls – from nearby City and Islington College. Shocking footage shared online has shown teenage girls punching each other as a fight spilled into the middle of the road in Upper Street, while a group of around 20 boys clashed outside McDonald’s on Wednesday.

It is believed that some of the fighting stems from youths loosely affiliated with gangs around the Cally acting out grievances with students.

Councillor Paul Convery, Islington Council’s former community safety chief, said the violence was a step down from the serious gang issues which have seen deaths on Islington’s streets, but no less concerning.

Police officers in Angel after teenagers clashed

“Some of these kids seem to be acting out grievances or having small proxy wars,” he said. “Groups of quite big lads are walking round and there’s an atmosphere – it’s a bit like West Side Story, they’re spoiling for a fight.”

But he added: “This it is not so far away from more serious kinds of violence. City and Islington has strong policies on weapons, so it’s possible they are picking these [weapons] up after they have left.”

Cllr Raphael Andrews, from nearby Clerkenwell ward, said: “This is dreadful. I think we need more police officers going into schools and colleges to talk to them about the dangers of this sort of crime.”

The Tribune witnessed the latest outbreak of violence. A police van was stationed outside the college yesterday after students left for the day just after 4pm. Officers were then headed towards the Angel Central Shopping Centre after getting alerts via police radio.

Just before 5pm, a group of three boys were walking down Liverpool Road when they were set upon by a gang of 10 teenagers.

Horrified shoppers looked on as the gang lashed their victims with self-styled belts on the steps of the shopping centre. One was punched to the ground as he tried to escape, while another took shelter in a shop.

Scores of police officers descended on the area, while plain-clothed officers ran into the centre to locate suspects.

Police arrive in Liverpool Road

Another boy was arrested and was being held in custody last night.

It comes amid rising concerns that students from City and Islington College, a five-minute walk away in Goswell Road, are responsible for a surge of violence in the area.

The college launched an investigation on Friday after shocking footage emerged online of around 10 teenage girls fighting in the middle of the road in Upper Street, close to NatWest bank.

Car horns blare as the gang throw punches at each other, while one girl is heard to shout: “Bash her up.” A chair then lands in the road, which appears to have been thrown from the pavement.

It followed a video which emerged last month in which a teenage girl thrusted a knife inches from another girl during another fight outside the college in January. A 15-year-old, from Croydon, was charged with assault and possession of an offensive weapon.

Police officers inside the Angel Shopping  Centre

Police were called to Goswell Road last Tuesday, and on Tuesday this week to the campus itself, to reports of fighting.

On Wednesday, more than 20 boys clashed outside McDonald’s in Chapel Market.

It is unclear whether those involved in yesterday’s fight were City and Islington students, but a police van was stationed outside at 4pm, when hundreds of young people spill on to the streets and head towards Upper Street to catch buses home.

Commenting on the incident at Angel Central, a City and Islington spokeswoman said: “As always we will work with the police to identify if any of our students have been involved in incidents. The college will take the strongest action against students who are not upholding our high standards of behaviour.”

Commenting on the Upper Street video, a spokeswoman said: “We are aware that there have been incidents of anti-social behaviour involving young people in the Upper Street area. We are investigating whether our students have been directly involved and breached our student code of conduct.”

• DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Jonathan McPhillips made two arrests yesterday (Thursday). A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, alongside a 45-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. Both remained in custody last night. Father-of-two Mr McPhillips, from Milner Square, was stabbed in the chest on February 25 in Upper Street. The 28-year-old died days later in hospital. A 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder on March 4. He was bailed to a date in mid-April.

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