Police have launched a murder investigation after a 15-year-old schoolgirl suffered fatal injuries during a knife attack at a bus stop in Croydon, south London.
A 15-year-old schoolgirl has been stabbed to death at a bus stop in Croydon, south London, as she travelled from home to school.
Footage posted on social media showed several police cars and ambulances near a stationary bus in the centre of Croydon on Wednesday morning.
The bus in question travels from Old Coulsdon in Surrey north, through Croydon, and up to Streatham but it is not clear if the girl was waiting at the bus stop or if her attacker followed her off the bus.
The Metropolitan Police said a teenage boy who was known to the victim had been arrested.
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.”
He said: “I am in contact with the local community, who are clearly as concerned as we are about this tragic incident. I shall continue to update them throughout the day.”
The emergency services were called to Wellesley Road in the centre of Croydon at 8:30 a.m. after reports of a girl being stabbed.
A bus driver and a passer-by tried to administer first aid before an air ambulance arrived but she was pronounced dead at 9:20 a.m.
Boy Arrested on Suspicion of Murder
The boy, who has not been named, was later arrested on suspicion of murder.
Much of the centre of Croydon was sealed off during the morning rush hour as a result of the incident and a white forensic tent was erected within a police cordon outside the Whitgift Centre shopping mall.
Ch. Supt. Brittain said: “My officers were immediately on scene to provide first aid and support paramedics. Acting on information provided to them, officers also worked closely with colleagues from across the Met and the British Transport Police to track a teenager in connection with the stabbing.”
He said of the arrested boy, “At this early stage we believe that he may have known her.”
James Watkins, from Mainz World which runs prevention and intervention projects for children and young people, said he was with the girl’s family when she died.
Mr. Watkins said: “They were devastated and I would say more importantly in shock, I don’t think it feels real for them.”
The girl, who has not been named, was a student at Old Palace of John Whitgift School, which released a statement saying, “We are deeply shocked by the senseless and tragic death of our much-loved and valued friend and pupil.”
‘Unimaginably Distressing Time’ for Parents
“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,” the statement added.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am absolutely heartbroken by the death of a 15-year-old girl in Croydon this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with this young girl’s family and friends, and the whole community, at this unimaginably awful time.”
“An arrest has been made in connection with this incident and I am in close contact with the Met Commissioner,” he added.
Croydon—one of several parts of London where there were riots in the summer of 2011—has a number of street gangs and there have been several murders there in the last five years but this incident is not believed to be gang-related.
It is rare for teenage girls to be the victims of violence in London.
In May 2011, Julie Sheriff, 16, was stabbed to death with the spiked handle of an afro comb in Battersea. Her attacker, 16-year-old Rebecca Douglas, was jailed for life with a minimum term of ten years.
Mohanna Abdhou, 20, was shot dead in Kilburn, north west London in May 2017. She is believed to have been killed by a stray bullet intended for a gang member. Her murder remains unsolved.
PA Media contributed to this report.