Cries of “help me” were heard as a 17-year-old girl was stabbed to death in a park in east London.
A witness told Sky News she heard arguing and a “disturbing” scream after the attack at a children’s play area in Harold Hill in Havering on Friday night.
Police were called by the ambulance service to the area – known as Amy’s park – at 9.25pm and found the girl suffering with a stab injury. She was pronounced dead an hour later.
“At this early stage, there have been no arrests and enquiries continue,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.
Krystle Pasha, who lives close to the scene of the stabbing, told Sky News: “I heard a lot of loud arguing, a lot of loud noise, shouting, followed by a really loud scream.
“The scream was very disturbing to hear. Then I heard someone shouting out; ‘Help me, help me’.”
Ms Pasha said she looked outside but could not see anyone before police and ambulance crews arrived.
She added that young people were often in the park at night where there is no lighting but the area is not known to have a problem with gangs.
“To hear what I heard last night, and to have it right opposite me, is very upsetting indeed,” Ms Pasha said.
Hairdresser Ellie Best, who moved to the area for the “good strong community”, said: “It is becoming more and more like central London here.
“Children did not fight or anything and you did not hear of people being mugged. There has never been knife crime here before – it is just in the last six or seven months.
“I worry for the younger youths. Police need to talk to them about the dangers of carrying knives because the message is not getting through.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was “devastated” by the “tragic and senseless” loss of life, adding: “It fills me with anger that violent criminals are targeting young Londoners with their whole lives before them.”
He added later: “There are people who know who are responsible. My message to them is to please contact the police. It is important that justice is done.”
Friends of the victim left flowers at the scene of the stabbing on Saturday, with one message reading: “We love you. You are in all of our hearts.”
The Met Police said the victim has not yet been formally identified but their next of kin have been informed.
Detectives from the force’s homicide and major crime command are investigating.
Acting detective chief superintendent John Ross said there would be extra police patrols in the area in the coming days.
“I am urging any witnesses – anyone who saw anything suspicious – or anyone with any information about the incident to contact police and share what they know,” he said.
The death of the 17-year-old means there have now been 18 homicides in London this year, but she is the first victim to be a teenage girl.
Last year, two 17-year-old girls and one 18-year-old woman were murdered in the capital.
The latest killing comes after a 20-year-old man – Che Morrison – was stabbed to death outside Ilford train station, east London on Tuesday evening.
A 19-year-old man – Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck – was also fatally stabbed by a gang riding bikes in Wood Green, north London last week.
Police said he was chased into a hair salon by men armed with a firearm, knives and a samurai sword and the killing was witnessed by several people, including children.
A day earlier, a 23-year-old man – Glendon Spence – was stabbed to death in Brixton, south London, at a youth club which had children as young as seven inside.
Earlier this week, police in Birmingham introduced temporary powers to allow officers to stop and search anyone “without reasonable grounds” after three fatal stabbings in the city in a fortnight.