A boy of 14 has been charged with murder after another 14-year-old boy was stabbed to death in London.
Fares Maatou was killed in broad daylight outside a pizza restaurant in Canning Town in his school uniform on Friday afternoon.
He is the eleventh and youngest teenager to be stabbed to death in the capital already this year.
Murder Squad detectives said they have charged another 14-year-old boy with murder.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is due to appear in court Monday.
Two 15-year-olds arrested as part of the investigation on Friday have been released on bail while a fourth suspect, also 15, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody.
Detectives continue to appeal for information about the events which led to the death of Fares who was riding an electric scooter when he was attacked.
They said they must “retain an open mind” as to any motive.
The father of Fares remains “critically ill” in hospital with Covid, according to a friend of his devastated family.
The family friend said they didn’t know if the boy’s father, currently being treated in the intensive care unit of a London hospital after being diagnosed with Covid, is aware that his son has been murdered.
The friend, who asked not to be named, said: “This is a terrible tragedy.
“The family have been through so much. We didn’t know if his dad was going to pull through after falling terribly ill with Covid. He’s still critically ill and under intensive care, and now they have lost their youngest son.
“Fares has an older brother, and two sisters.
“Fares was blind in one eye following an incident when he was a young child.”
Several teenage boys turned up to lay flowers at the murder scene outside Zetta’s pizza shop on Barking Road yesterday with tears in their eyes.
One of them, a school friend of Fares, said: “He was a kind person who loved everyone and wouldn’t start trouble.
“We were in the same class together and used to hang out at lunch – the last time I spoke to him was yesterday morning.
“I asked him why he wasn’t coming to school and he said he wanted to avoid detention.
“He put his uniform on to make it out to his parents that he was going to school.
A witness, who tried to help Fares as he lay dying, said: “He was stabbed and then ran around the corner.
“We tried to help him, I checked his pulse, but he was gone.”
DCI Perry Benton, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: “I spoke yesterday about how local people have provided fantastic support to our investigation and given us a good deal of information.
“This has continued over the weekend, and once again I thank them for that.
“Every piece of information could be vital, so I continue to appeal for anyone who knows anything and any witnesses who have yet to speak with police to please come forward.
“I have assured Fares’s family of my total commitment to bringing to justice those responsible for this senseless killing.
“They will be supported by specialist officers at every stage of what will be a terrible ordeal for them in the weeks, months and years ahead.
“This remains a fast-moving investigation and there will be further developments.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 1570 or to contact Crimestoppers anonymously.