IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Shooting: neighbours say they’re too scared to go inside park

Residents say they feel ‘intimidated’ after gun attack near Upper ­Holloway playground

26 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

A police officer at the scene of the Whittington Park shooting this week

NEIGHBOURS say they have been left “too intimidated” to use a park after a shooting and an increase in anti-social behaviour near a children’s playground.

The violence at Whittington Park has led to new calls for a more visible police presence.

One man has been held on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after the incident in the early hours of Monday, while another was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Police closed off the park and parts of the neighbouring Wedmore estate in Upper ­Holloway for two days as they investigated.

Officers say a 36-year-old man was shot in the buttocks and the back. He was taken to ­hospital by ambulance and was himself later charged with causing GBH.

Residents living in the Wedmore estate say the case has increased their concerns about their safety in the park.

“It doesn’t feel safe going into the park at night,” said one father, who was too afraid to give his name for fear of reprisals.

“There’s a lot of drug users in the park and I would never let my children in there after sundown, and I would never walk through there after 9pm. You just don’t know what can happen.”

He described how thefts had also shot up across his estate in recent weeks and how his child’s buggy had been stolen from outside his home.

Liz Case, who is a trustee at the Whittington Park Community Association, told the Tribune: “It’s a pretty horrific thing to happen near a park.

“You hear about stabbings but it’s shocking that a gun was involved. What if there had been someone walking their dog at the time and they were caught in it?

“This kind of thing affects the whole ­community – I am really annoyed at these ­people.”

She said that the “community’s links with the police have been broken” because the Safer Neighbourhood team policing the area had changed recently, adding:

“I don’t see the neighbourhood policing teams out as often anymore. There needs to be a more obvious presence after this.”

As reported in the Tribune earlier this month, the Town Hall’s crime chief, Andy Hull, said he had been “frustrated” by the high turnover of police officers in the borough.

“The way people move upwards, it encourages officers to change boroughs,” he said. “It does not put a premium on the relationships we need.”

A woman who lives on the estate said a police helicopter was quickly in the air after the shooting.

A police officer was seen guarding a pile of bloodied clothes in Wedmore Street on Monday while forensic officers were seen combing the park for evidence.

Officers want to trace a man who fled the scene before they arrived.

Detectives from ­Trident – the Met’s gun crime unit – arrested a 24-year-old man in ­Silvertown Way, Newham, on Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder and driving while disqualified.

Any witnesses should call the police on 101 quoting reference 304/july22. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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