Two men have been arrested after three men were stabbed to death in a clash police believe was between groups of Sikh men.
Police responded to reports of a disturbance in Elmstead Road, Seven Kings, in Ilford, east London, on Sunday at 7.38pm.
All three men were pronounced dead at the scene and the Metropolitan Police said the victims are believed to be aged in their 20s or 30s. The two men, aged 29 and 39, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Speaking at the scene on Monday, Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman said the suspects and the victims were all known to each other. “We believe the groups involved are members of the Sikh community,” he said. Officers are still contacting members of the deceased men’s families, he added.
“It was a horrific scene for anyone to come across and my heart goes out to the families and those affected by it because it is unprecedented to have something like this,” he said.
A police cordon was in place outside Seven Kings railway station on Monday morning.
The owner of Seven Kings Cars opposite the station said a man with blood on his hands had approached him on Sunday evening asking for help after three people had been badly injured.
Nadeem Rana, told the Press Association: “I was shocked. He had blood on his hands and he said there were people in very poor condition.”
The man and a passenger who had been waiting for a taxi made off towards the scene to help, Mr Rana said. He said he was shocked to hear the men had died.
“It’s shocking, a feeling of insecurity to be honest,” he said.
Local resident Lauren Marshall said she and other neighbours had gone out into Elmstead Road when they saw flashing police lights on Sunday night.
“By the time I came out, the road was blocked and there were police everywhere. It was manic. Everyone was coming out of their houses,” the 26-year-old paralegal said. “I’ve lived here my whole life and nothing like this has ever happened. It was a shock.”
A police forensics tent was visible in Salisbury Road near what Ms Marshall said was the stairway to the railway station. Formal identification of the victims has yet to take place, and post-mortem examinations have also yet to be arranged.
Knife crime highest in a decade nationwide
90 people died in fatal stabbings in London last year. Nationwide, the number of knife crimes being dealt with by the police and courts are the highest in a decade, official figures show.
There were 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019, according to Ministry of Justice statistics.
This is a three per cent rise on the previous year and the highest since September 2009 (26,364).
The mayor of London said extra police enforcement powers were authorised for the borough of Redbridge following the attack.
Sadie Khan said: “I’m in touch with senior Met police officers and local representatives after a serious incident in Redbridge tonight, where three men have lost their lives. My thoughts are with their families and the local community at this dreadful time.”
The Ilford South Labour MP, Sam Tarry, tweeted on Sunday night: “Heartbroken to find out that three people have been stabbed in Seven Kings, Ilford, tonight.”
In a separate post, he added: “Knife crime is a crisis engulfing our capital, bringing heartache, misery and fear to so many. The police, local authorities, schools, youth and mental health services desperately need the funding and support restoring. No ifs, no buts, no excuses.”
Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting reference 6374/19 Jan or, to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.