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Plea to ‘learn’ from stab death

Friends pay tribute to 16-year-old who grew up in Islington

30 August, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

A mural for Alex Smith

THE family of a 16-year-old boy who was stabbed to death pleaded with youngsters to “learn from this” at a vigil held where he was killed.

Scores of teenagers arrived on Thursday evening to pay their respects to his relatives at the spot where Alex Smith, who grew up in Islington, was knifed to death two weeks ago.

Yusuf Yusuf, 19, from West Hampstead, and Arif Biomy, 19, from Greenwich, have both been charged with his murder.

Addressing the crowd at the Regent’s Park estate, Alex’s cousin, Stephen Barnabis, said: “Life is precious, life is valuable. The way that you walk and the way that you talk and present yourself, they mean something.”

He added: “Know that you have ambitions and you can go somewhere and please when you walk past this [memorial] just appreciate the value of life.”

Alex Smith

A group of friends had spent days painting a mural depicting Alex, a former pupil at Acland Burghley School, Tufnell Park, sitting on a bike under a blue sky.

Beneath council signs that say “no ball games” and “no dogs” they had painted “no knives”.

Another of Alex’s relations, who did not want to be named, read aloud Margaret Mead’s funeral poem Remember Me.

“You can tell by the number of people who are here at this memorial just how much he meant to you all,” she added.

“I’m begging you, let’s try and learn from this.”

A prayer was then said by an older cousin.

She added: “Knife is not the answer. A life has been cut short, families have been grieving.”

Flowers were left at the foot of the mural and ­candles were lit.

Alex had grown up in Islington but the family recently moved to Wembley.

As the Tribune previously reported, he was excluded from Acland Burghley, sparking calls from activists for more support to be given to vulnerable children.


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