A teenager stabbed to death at a warehouse party in west London was a talented boxer, it emerged today.
Mahad Ali, 18, was set upon by a gang of armed attackers as more than 200 people spilled out of the event on an industrial estate in Park Royal at 2.30am yesterday.
The student was rushed to hospital with multiple stab wounds but was pronounced dead soon afterwards.
Mr Ali is the 13th teenager to be murdered in London this year and the tenth young person to die of knife wounds. He is also the tenth fatality from knife crime so far this month.
His parents are said to be inconsolable with grief, with a relative saying: “They are crying and crying for their child”.
Friends today paid tribute to Mr Ali, who was a former pupil of Highbury Grove School and member of the Islington Boxing Club.
A picture of the teenager with British world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua Joshua was shared on social media.
School friend Claudio Bellezza, 18, said: “Mahad was unique. He never spoke ill of anyone behind their backs, always kept his promises and was never deceitful, which makes it even harder to believe he’s gone.
“He had ambition, he was a hard worker and a great boxer, he showed empathy to those in difficult positions.”
A fellow classmate at Highbury Grove who lived on the same road as Mr Ali in Islington, said: “Mahad was the kindest person you will ever meet in your life. He was always smiling and wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Another friend said: “He was a loving person. I met him and we were instantly family. He was just an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I’m sorry for his poor mother and family. She loves him to bits, he was a great son to her.”
Islington Boxing Club paid tribute online saying they were saddened to hear of his death. The teenager had been a member for a few years and had progressed through through the junior academy to compete for the club.
The statement said : “Mahad has become another victim to knife crime that is plaguing the streets of London and affecting so many. It is sad that young people are losing they lives so frequently for no reason. Too many young people are caught up in this and it really needs to stop.
“Thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. “
The warehouse party was “hijacked” by violent gangs towards the end of the night, according to one of the promoters.
He said: “Around 250 people attended the event yesterday around 2.50am (the event would have finished at 3am) numerous fights started happening, loads of people hijacked the event from outside.
“Whilst the brawl occurred I was stabbed in the face whilst helping someone who was heavily outnumbered getting attacked.”
It is understood to have been held in the premises of the Wanasah Lounge, which closed in April 2016 following a planning dispute with Ealing Council.
Former owner Amira Al-Shamaa said: “When we were there, there were none of these problems.”
Mr Ali’s killing came two days after Sadiq Khan announced new measures to combat London’s knife crime epidemic, including a £625,000 funding boost for projects to tackle gang activity.
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks, who is leading the investigation, said: “At some point an altercation began inside, and then may have spilled outside, which resulted in the victim being stabbed.
“Another man was treated at the scene for a head injury and it may be that others were injured too – we would appeal for those people to come forward.”
There have been no arrests.
Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8358 0300 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.