Sadiq Khan says six London murders in four days is due to 'austerity'

Sadiq Khan says six London murders in four days is due to 'austerity'

Now Sadiq Khan says six London murders in four days is due to ‘austerity’ cuts in police and youth workers and claims he has ‘one hand tied behind my back’ in fight against crime a day after he blamed the WEATHER

  • The London Mayor was forced to defend comments he made on crime yesterday
  • He said today that London ‘is safe’ after six suspected murders in four days
  • He previously pointed to longer days and hot weather to explain a crime spike 

Sadiq Khan has insisted that London is a safe city, but says he has ‘one hand tied behind my back because of austerity’ in efforts to combat a spate of summer violence, just a day after blaming the weather.

The Mayor of London said the public were ‘caught in the crossfire’ of Government policy decisions, after six suspected murders in just four days.

Three of the victims were reportedly killed in stabbings while a 25-year-old man was shot. 

But Sadiq Khan has been forced to defend himself over comments blaming hot weather for an increase in crime, which yesterday led to backlash from rival politicians. 

Sadiq Khan has insisted that London ‘is safe’, but has been forced to defend himself after backlash over comments he made about the heatwave being to blame for a spike in crime

Thomas O’Halloran, 87, had been riding a mobility scooter on Cayton Road, Greenford, in west London, when he was stabbed to death on Tuesday

He said in a statement today: ‘One homicide is a homicide too many, and one victim of crime is one victim of crime too many, but I feel like over the last six years I’ve had one hand tied behind my back because of austerity.

‘We’ve lost 21,000 officers, the Government has now said it will replace them with 20,000 officers when our population has gone up.

‘We’ve had cuts in youth workers, in youth services, in after-school clubs, in services councils provide because of the choice made by the government and it is Londoners who are caught in the crossfire.’

Speaking to LBC radio on Thursday, the mayor pointed to ‘longer daylight hours, school holidays, a heatwave’ and the cost of living crisis after six killings in the city in less than a week.

Addressing the surge in violence, he told the radio channel on Thursday (August 18): ‘We have seen over the last few days, the last week, a number of awful homicides.

‘I’m afraid this summer we are seeing what we feared, which is an increase in violent crime… there are longer daylight hours, school holidays, a heatwave and so forth.

‘We are working with the police to suppress that violence.’

Mr Khan was adamant today that the capital is a safe place. He said gun crime, knife crime, knife injury, those injured by knives under the age of 25, moped crime and burglary are all down on last year, and ‘teenage homicides are down by more than 68%’.

Mr Khan added: ‘That’s no consolation though if you’re the victim of crime or a bereaved family which is why I’m determined to make sure that we make more progress as well.’

There have been six suspected murders in the space of four days in London this week, including the fatal stabbing of veteran charity fundraiser Thomas O’Halloran, 87, while he was out riding on his mobility scooter.

On the stabbing of Mr O’Halloran, Mr Khan said: ‘I can understand why Londoners are feeling worried, feeling frightened. This was an 87-year-old man stabbed to death in daylight hours.’

Mr O’Halloran was stabbed in the chest and died at the scene.

Kacey Boothe was shot in Forest Rise, Walthamstow, east London shortly before 9.30pm on Saturday and taken to hospital by car, where he died

Police believe he managed to flag down a member of the public who called for help, but despite the best efforts of police and paramedics, he passed away.

Mr O’Halloran was known for busking outside his local supermarket and Greenford station to raise money for charity, including for Ukraine.

Former Labour MP Stephen Pound, who used to represent the Greenford area, paid tribute to the 87-year-old.

‘Tom was a real local character. He would be outside Greenford station playing the accordion, occasionally the harmonica,’ he told GB News.

‘He was a sweet, lovely man… He was well-liked and well-loved, but, above all, he was one of those characters who would cement an area.’

As well as six deaths, there have been multiple others stabbed or shot at in the capital this week alone. 

Conservative MPs have accused Mr Khan of doing ‘next to nothing’ following the rise in violence, with Education Secretary James Cleverly accusing him of being ‘asleep at the wheel’.

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘London is inundated with crime at the moment and – apart from putting out statements – Sadiq Khan has done next to nothing on this.

‘We have gang warfare on the streets of London in some boroughs yet Mr Khan’s priorities seem to be elsewhere. He needs to make this his No1 priority and focus on getting rid of these gangs. Many constituents cannot see the point in him.’

After the backlash, he said today: ‘Before the summer holidays began, the police, myself and others, were warning about what we’ve seen in previous summers. We have seen an increase in violent crime and the cost-of-living crisis exacerbates this.

‘Why? Because one of the complex causes of crime is deprivation, poverty, lack of opportunities and so forth.

‘That’s made worse by the cost-of-living crisis and I’m afraid it’s no consolation to me, the police or all those bereaved families to see happening this summer what we feared, which is what we’ve seen in the last week.

‘It’s really important to support the police by making sure we fund more police officers, not having more austerity – (which was) a political choice made by the Government – by supporting communities and giving young people constructive things to do.’

London reels after six murders in just four days

Londoners have been left shocked by an awful spate of violence this week which has led to six suspected murders in just four days. 

Tuesday, August 16:

Thomas O’Halloran was a regular charity fundraiser who was known for busking in his local area

Mr O’Halloran, a grandfather and charity fundraiser, was fatally stabbed on Tuesday while riding his mobility scooter.

Lee Byer, 44, of Southall in west London, has been charged with murder and appeared in court on August 19. 

Monday, August 15:

Li Sung, 58, was stabbed to death just off Oxford Street in broad daylight, allegedly in a row with a colleague at a Korean restaurant in Soho.

Li Hunan, 60, of New Malden, has been charged with his murder and will appear in court for a plea hearing on November 4. 

Aziza Bennis, 58, was also killed on Monday in Ealing, allegedly by her 21-year-old daughter after a row ensued between them.

Hannah Bennis appeared in court on Wednesday, accused of murder after her mother was found with more than 30 stab injuries.

Sunday, August 14:

Stephen Goodman, 60, was found dead in Dagenham after a suspected street altercation

On Sunday Stephen Goodman, 60, was found dead in Dagenham, east London.

23-year-old Connor Coveley appeared in court on Thursday. 

Also on Sunday, Sonny Booty, 36, was found dead in a residential property in Lewisham.

Christopher Baptiste, 53, turned himself into police and appeared in court on Tuesday.  

Saturday, August 13: 

Kacey Boothe was shot to death in Walthamstow on Saturday, August 13

25-year-old Kacey Boothe was shot to death in Walthamstow, north London. 

He was taken to hospital in a private vehicle but tragically passed away once there. 

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