IslingtonTribune

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‘Too many mothers are losing their sons because of knife crime’

Mother speaks out as 15-year-old stabbing victim is laid to rest in moving farewell

02 April, 2021 — By Calum Fraser

Romario Opia’s coffin was carried through Islington by a horse-drawn carriage

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who was stabbed to death in Archway was laid to rest this week, amid calls for his death to be a watershed moment in the fight against knife crime.

A funeral was held for Romario Opia on Friday with a horse-drawn carriage bearing his purple coffin – the teenager’s favourite colour – through Islington’s streets.

Romario, who was known as Rom to his friends and family, was killed just yards from the City of London Highgate Hill Academy school gates, in the Elthorne estate, in January.

His family raised more than £3,500 on a crowdfunding web page to help pay for his funeral.

In an online message, Romeo’s mother Katrina said: “His life was robbed from us, it was only three weeks until his 16th birthday – this has saddened and devastated all of us and the community.

Romario Opia

“Too many mothers are hurting and losing their sons because of knife crime and this needs to change. No family should have their child’s life robbed of their future by someone else.”

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who visited the site of the killing in Holland Walk the week after it happened, said: “At just 15 years, this is a terrible loss of life. In Romario’s memory let’s make sure our community here in Islington is peaceful and supportive of young people.”

Romario was often seen on his bike around the streets where he grew up in Upper Holloway.

The teenager was an admirer of Mac Ferrari-Guy, the founder of the “Bikestormz” campaign which aims to use cycling as a way of keeping children safe from knife crime. Their slogan is “knife down, bike up”.

Mr Ferrari-Guy laid flowers by the hearse on Friday, as he paid his respects to the family.

“Today I saw a mother cry her heart to pieces,” he said in a message posted on social media.

“I looked at all of Rom’s friends today, and thought, this could have happened to any of you. One minute you’re here, next day you’re not.”

A 17-year-old has been charged with murder in connection with Rom­ario’s death.

• To donate to the family’s fundraising page visit www.gofundme.com/f/romsworld

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