(Videos are over at the Daily Mail link below)
“One said the killer said ‘Wallah’, an Arabic slang term for ‘I swear to God’, before plunging the knife into his victim.”
Pictured: Teenager stabbed to death at Oxford Street Boxing Day sales as horrified shoppers looked on
- Seydou Diarrassouba died following attack inside Foot Locker store
- Second victim injured four hours later outside Nike in separate attack
- Police say attacks took place at the ‘busiest place in the United Kingdom on the busiest shopping day’
- Eleven people arrested in and around store shortly after stabbing
- Oxford Street has been reopened to the public this morning except for a small crime scene outside Footlocker near Oxford Circus
- Detectives urge witnesses who filmed incident on mobiles to hand in footage
Last updated at 2:25 PM on 27th December 2011
The biggest sales rush in British history was marked by bloodshed yesterday as a teenager was murdered in a suspected row over a pair of trainers.
Bargain hunters looked on in horror as the 18-year-old was stabbed in a branch of Foot Locker on Oxford Street in central London.
Witnesses said the teenager was amongst a group of black youths, thought to be rival gangs, fighting over the trainers.
The teen, named locally as 18-year-old Seydou Diarrassouba, managed to stagger outside bleeding heavily before collapsing on the street.
Tragic: The 18-year-old victim, Seydou Diarrassouba, poses in a grey hoodie in a social networking profile picture, and right, in a picture posted on Twitter
Videos posted on the internet showed that as paramedics treated him other youths pushed and shoved police in scenes reminiscent of the summer riots.
- The moment police Tasered a bystander as they try to regain control of frenzied Oxford Street crowd
- ‘Biggest sales rush in history’: Boxing Day shoppers race to grab bargains as record numbers of stores open and slash prices by up to 80%
- ‘Executed’ in the street: Student ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ may have been victim of a racial attack
Hours after the murder, police rushed to a second incident near Oxford Circus Tube station – 700 yards from Foot Locker – where a young man had been stabbed in the leg. At the scene were a bloodied pair of jeans and a pair of Nike trainers.
Police were investigating whether there was any link between the two stabbings.
Today a school friend of the victim identified the fatally stabbed teenager as Seydou Diarrassouba, who lived in Mitcham, south London.
Munawar Shaikh, 20, who went to school with the knife victim, said: ‘I heard about it on social network sites.
‘It’s devastating, I had lost contact with Seydou but he was such a big personality and a person everyone in Mitcham would know.
‘He was just a good kid who always had a smile on his face. I have not had a chance to go out yet but I imagine everybody will be cut up about it.’
Asked if he thought the killing may have been gang-related, Mr Shaikh said: ‘I cannot say if it was a gang thing, it seems more like it was just a misunderstanding between youths.’
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: ‘This is probably the busiest place in the United Kingdom right now on the busiest shopping day.’
The crimes brought a large area thronged by tens of thousands of shoppers to a standstill and closed many stores.
Scotland Yard said Oxford Street has today fully reopened to pedestrians, buses and other traffic, while a small crime scene remains in place outside the Foot Locker store.
Police commanders had to bring in extra officers to hold back crowds of bargain hunters incensed their spending spree had been interrupted.
Yesterday’s murder happened at about 1.45pm – the height of the shopping frenzy.
The sprawling Foot Locker store, near Bond Street Tube station, was packed with shoppers frantically sifting through piles of sales goods.
Police today appealed for any onlookers who caught the Oxford Street stabbing on their camera phones to come forward with the footage.
Detectives believe a number of witnesses filmed the horrific incident on their mobiles as the 18-year-old was knifed by a Foot Locker.
Det Supt John Sweeney said: ‘There were several people who witnessed this event both inside and outside the store.
‘A number of them recorded it on camera phone and we are interested in those people coming forward.
‘We also want to speak to anyone else who saw what happened both inside and outside the store.’
Witnesses said a group of young men began arguing over a box of trainers before the victim was stabbed in the chest. It is believed the group may have been on Oxford Street on a shoplifting spree and were arguing over who stole what.
One said the killer said ‘Wallah’, an Arabic slang term for ‘I swear to God’, before plunging the knife into his victim.
Fatal stabbing: The scene outside Foot Locker on Oxford Street where the man was stabbed to death
The stabbed youth pushed his way through the crowd of shoppers, many of whom did not realise what had happened, before collapsing on the pavement outside.
The victim is also thought to be known by the street name ‘Nutz’.
Paramedics raced to the scene as dozens of police officers, including armed officers and dog handlers, also arrived.
Many had to abandon their vehicles and run to the store as the crowds of shoppers were so dense that they could not get through.
A three-inch silver lock knife, which could have been the murder weapon, was discovered abandoned nearby. Other knives were also found.
Police quickly sealed the shop, trapping hundreds inside, before questioning everyone and searching them for weapons and traces of blood.
Photographer Jules Mattsson watched paramedics as they desperately tried to save the young man’s life.
He said: ‘The police were pushing the crowds back. It looked like they were trying to resuscitate him.
‘At that point, I was moved back around the corner with the crowds and they had put a sheet over the body of the dead guy. A line of police officers stood guard in front of the body.
‘It was a massive crush – most people just wanted to know what was going on. It took a long time for the police to clear everyone.’
It is understood that the murder was captured by several CCTV cameras. Eleven young men were arrested in and around the store within minutes.
One witness said the killing might be linked to an attack in which a 22-year-old man was shot twice in the chest five days ago. That victim continues to fight for his life in hospital after the attack on the Mozart Estate, in Queen’s Park, North West London.
Friends of the Oxford Street murder victim took to Twitter to pay tribute to him. One, Kaniva Luciano, wrote: ‘Rip Seydou Aka Nutz Ima Miss You Bro’.
Another wrote: ‘R.I.P Nutz, you will be sadly missed. Another life gone just like that *sigh*”< Life Is Messed. R.I.P Seydou xoxo’
A third wrote that the people ‘Nutz’ had clashed with were bragging on Facebook or Twitter about the murder.
Police chief Mr Dunne said: ‘It’s been difficult for us to piece together what has happened and clear this area to work out a sequence of events.
‘The flipside of that is we have probably more witnesses than we would normally have and I’m very much looking forward to them coming and speaking to us.’
Inspector Bruce Middlemiss, of Westminster Police, said three suspects in yesterday’s second stabbing had run off along Regent Street. Asked if the two incidents were linked, he said: ‘There’s nothing firm, however they are similar sort of circumstances, youths possibly from the same south London area.’
Mr Middlemiss said the public should not feel unsafe shopping in the West End despite the day’s violence as there is already a high police presence in the area.
Three years ago in Oxford Street, Steven Bigby, 22, was stabbed to death outside a McDonald’s restaurant in a row over a spilled drink.
In August, two teenagers were stabbed outside H&M in front of hundreds of horrified afternoon shoppers.
The Foot Locker chain sells trainers and sportswear, including many brands popular among gang members.
Branches were relentlessly targeted by looters during the August riots as police lost control of the streets.
One store in Brixton, south London, was stripped bare by thieves and razed to the ground before the riots spread across the rest of the nation.