The family of a 14-year-old boy who was “brutally murdered in cold blood” have insisted he was not linked to gangs.
Jayden Moodie was knocked off his moped and repeatedly stabbed by three men in what police have described as a targeted attack.
In a statement on Thursday, Jayden’s cousin Leon Green, flanked by the victim’s mother and sister, said his killers must be brought to justice.
“No one deserves to die in that horrific way,” Mr Green said.
“Jayden was a 14-year-old minor who had his whole life ahead of him, which should never have been viciously taken from him.
“It was very distressing that the majority of reports about Jayden have mentioned London gangs.
“I would like to stress Jayden had recently moved to London from Nottingham and had absolutely no affiliation with gangs.
“Focus needs to be on the fact that he has been brutally murdered in cold blood and deserves a fair chance of justice as much as anyone else in this situation.
“If there are people on our streets who are capable of killing a 14-year-old child, then no one is safe and they need to be caught and brought to justice.”
Mr Green urged anyone with information about the killing to come forward and “help us get justice for Jayden”.
Jayden’s character was “infectious and everyone fell in love with his charm”, he added.
“He had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone, especially his family,” Mr Green said.
Jayden was knocked off the moped he was riding by a black Mercedes B Class in Leyton in Waltham Forest, east London, at around 6.30pm on Tuesday.
He was then stabbed several times by three attackers as he lay unconscious in the road.
The car was found on Wednesday in a nearby area of Leyton and remains there for forensic examination.
The Metropolitan Police are still searching for the suspects, and a section 60 order has been put in place in the area to allow officers to search anyone for weapons.
Officers have not yet revealed if there was a motive for the killing.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Soole said: “We are treating the recovery of the car as a significant development in our inquiries, which are still very much in their early stages.
“This is a truly heartbreaking time for them and we are doing everything we can to find out who was responsible for Jayden’s death.”
In 2018, around a fifth (17%) of homicide victims in London were teenagers, most of whom were stabbed. The youngest were aged 15.
The borough where Jayden died, Waltham Forest, has been blighted by gang crime, with the local authority ploughing £3m over the next four years into a prevention programme.
Police patrols were stepped up in the wake of the murder.