The mother of a teenager stabbed to death on a west London street today said that he had packed his bags and was just days from a “fresh start” studying his A-levels overseas.
Usaama Ali, 17, was knifed in the heart in Acton on Friday. He collapsed near a GP surgery and café, dying despite efforts to save him by shopkeepers and paramedics.
Speaking at the family home in West Acton, his mother Sadia Barre, 40, said her son had been booked to fly to Cairo tomorrow to pursue his studies, but instead he lay in a morgue.
“Usaama was very excited about his fresh start studying in Cairo, where I have a friend,” she said. “He was ready to go and had high hopes of getting his A-levels and then going on to university to study sociology.
“He had been excluded from school and had done home schooling and got some GCSEs. This was his big chance and he was ready to take it. He has been robbed of this opportunity and his life and I have been robbed of a son.”
Usaama was born in Oslo after his family moved there from Somalia. Mrs Barre said they relocated to London in 2007 because she believed the educational opportunities for her three children would be better in Britain.
“Looking back this has obviously been a terrible decision and now I just want to get out of London,” she said. “These boys carrying knives — something more has to be done. As a mother I do not want to live here any more.
“When a friend called and said he had been stabbed my world fell apart. He was killed outside the doctor’s surgery our family uses. London is too dangerous. I do not know where we will go but we cannot stay here with this level of violence.”
Usaama is the 15th teenager to die in a homicide in the capital this year, and the 11th to be fatally stabbed.
At 6ft 3 ins tall, he was a star basketball player at his previous school, Acton High, and was hugely popular, Mrs Barre said: “He was a fine boy. He was always smiling and would greet everyone.
“He was not a bad boy and was very academic. He was good at science and had talked of being an aeronautical engineer as well.” His brother Ashkir, 15, said: “My brother was a lovely guy who was always smiling and really popular at school. Young [people] have to stop carrying knives. We are just devastated.”
The Somali community has been rallying around the family and scores of people have visited them to pay their respects.
Police were called to the scene of the attack in Crown Street at about 11.50am on Friday. Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves, leading the investigation, said: “Crown Street would have been busy and we are appealing for anyone that was in or around the area to contact us.
“We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw or heard an argument outside a café on Crown Street.” Witnesses can call the incident room on 020 8721 4868, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
A boy aged 16 appeared at Bromley magistrates’ court on Monday charged with murder. He was remanded in custody.