Old Palace School has confirmed that the 15-year-old girl stabbed and killed in the town centre this morning was one of their pupils.
The incident adds tragedy to what has been a traumatic week for the fee-paying, independent school, which was told last Thursday that it faces closure.
According to eyewitness reports from those at the scene of the attack on Wellesley Road at around 8.30 this morning, the girl, dressed in her school’s green blazer, had just got off a No60 bus with a group of friends when the attack happened, her assailant using a large bladed weapon which one described as “like a sword”.
Eyewitnesses have been reported as seeing a row between the girl and boy on the busy street after they had got off the bus. They are reported as saying that the girl had rejected flowers from the boy moments before he stabbed her in the neck.
While most fled the scene in horror, the bus driver and a passenger battled to save the girl’s life. Despite urgent attention from emergency services, she died at the scene less than an hour later.
At lunchtime, a spokesperson for Old Palace of John Whitgift School, which is less than a mile from the scene of the murder, confirmed that the as yet unnamed girl was a pupil.
“We are deeply shocked by the senseless and tragic death of our much-loved and valued friend and pupil,” they said.
“It will take some time for the Old Palace community to come to terms with this terrible news, and we will offer support to our pupils as we try to do so.
“Above all, we send our love and deepest sympathies to the girl’s family at this unimaginably distressing time.”
In a letter from the school’s senior deputy head to parents and carers, the school said, “We shall be providing further resources to support the school community… Once we have announced this to the girls, we shall be giving them time to grieve and it might be appropriate for some girls to go home.”
The murder victim is the 16th teenager to be murdered in London this year, 13 of whom were stabbed.
The borough’s politicians, from policing minister Chris Philp, constituency MP Sarah Jones to Mayor Jason Perry, who have all singularly failed to reduce the crisis of knife crime, in particular youth knife crime in Croydon, all issued the usual, trite-sounding platitudes.
Croydon’s police Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain, said: “Our immediate thoughts are with this young girl’s family who are facing the most tragic of news. Our officers are with the girl’s family to support them.”
Brittain said that the community “are clearly as concerned as we are about this tragic incident”.
“A crime scene will be in place for some time, and I am grateful for the cooperation of residents.”
- Anyone who witnessed the attack or has information that can help officers is asked to call police via 101 quoting reference CAD 1601/27Sep. To remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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