The dad of a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in Canning Town is fighting for his life in intensive care after becoming ill with Covid-19, according to a family friend.
Fares Maatou was killed in broad daylight on Friday (April 23) while wearing his school uniform, reportedly “for his electric scooter”.
The tragic death makes the youngster the eleventh and youngest teenager to be stabbed to death in the city this year.
The friend, who asked not to be named, said: “This is a terrible tragedy. The family have been through so much.
“We didn’t know if his dad was going to pull through after falling terribly ill with Covid. He’s still critically ill and under intensive care, and now they have lost their youngest son.
“The family live in the Custom House area of east London. Fares has an older brother and two sisters.
“Fares was blind in one eye following an incident when he was a young child.”
The young boy was stabbed just before 4pm on Friday, April 23 outside Zzetta’s pizza shop on Barking Road.
Police were called to the scene and according to witnesses took under five minutes to arrive.
An air ambulance also landed nearby but despite the best efforts of the emergency services Fares was pronounced dead shortly after 4.30pm.
A witness, who tried to help Fares as he lay dying, said: “He was stabbed and then ran around the corner.
“One of the guys had a knife and the other had a big iron bar.
“The boys, there were about five of them, who attacked him were dressed in normal clothes.
“We tried to help him, I checked his pulse, but he was gone.”
Tributes have been pouring in for the young boy, who friends say “was never involved in anything”.
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One friend who was reportedly with him at the time of his death wrote: “Half of the people posting about his death didn’t even know him.
“You died protecting me bro, when I saw you got stabbed and you dropped I looked at you bro thinking they really got him, [worst] part was they even took his scooter.”
The post continued to describe the last moments of the boy’s life. It added: “I feel to cry more and more.
“Rest in paradise my bro, love you forever.”
The Metropolitan Police has said they will launch a full investigation into the circumstances of the boy’s death.
A statement from the Met explained there will be an increased police presence in the area.
Three teenage boys, one aged 14 and two aged 15, have been arrested in connection with the stabbing.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to call 101 or tweet @MetCC , providing the reference CAD 5134/23Apr.
To remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.