Joe Curtis »
‘PLEASE stop the violence’ was the message delivered at a peace march by the mother of a man stabbed to death four years ago.
The peace rally through Walthamstow today
Hundreds of young people turned out this afternoon (Friday) to mourn the deaths of CJ Hendricks, who was stabbed outside Walthamstow bus station four years ago at just 18 years old, Michael Wright, who was killed in 2009, and Tommy Overton, who was murdered just five days ago in Leyton.
Family and friends of the victims walked, chanting “RIP CJ, RIP Tommy”, from Abbot Park in High Road, Leyton, through Hoe Street until they reached Walthamstow town square, where Melanie Hendricks made her emotional plea at about 2.40pm.
She said: “It has to stop, this violence must end. We want all this to stop and we need everyone to help do this.”
CJ’s father, Charles, added: “Here we are again. When will all this stop? Only you can decide. Each year it seems to grow and grow and we have more people to remember. It’s sad.”
A 17-year-old boy was cleared of CJ’s murder and manslaughter in 2009 after he claimed he acted in self-defence.
Mrs Hendricks told the Guardian: “It is things like Tommy Overton’s death which is why I’ve been fighting since CJ’s murder. We need to encourage kids away from violence – they need things to occupy them.”
Tommy Overton was stabbed in Beaumont Road in the early hours of Sunday, August 19. Police believe a fight spilled out into the street from a party in Colchester Road.
A 16-year-old boy has been formally charged with his murder and is being held in custody until a date is set for his court case on August 29.
His family raised funds for his funeral at the march, but did not speak with the Guardian.
But friends of both CJ and Tommy rapped and performed to remember both of them.
One speaker, who identified himself only as Jerome, said: “People have to come together and help each other because life is too short. These deaths are tragic but we’ve got to show love to each other or everyone gets hurt.”