A teenager who died in hospital last night after being stabbed on a bus on his 16th birthday was described today as “the best brother in the world”. Derek Boateng died a day after he was knifed on a single decker bus outside the gates of a school in north London in an apparent fight between rival gangs.
Today his sister, Gifty Boateng, 29, described her brother as a loving, talented boy who wanted to be an engineer. She said Derek lived with his parents in Hackney and was on the way home by bus when he was attacked. Ms Boateng told the Standard: “I could not have had a better brother. He would do things for anyone and ask for nothing in return.
“He was the family handyman and could fix anything and wanted to be an engineer. “He also loved drumming that was his passion. He was very musical and good at painting and drawing. He also liked football and was good at sports. He had lots of friends and was a loving son to our Mum and Dad.” She said the family, originally from Ghana, had been “devastated” by his death and that they had no idea what triggered the attack outside Highbury Grove school in Islington on Tuesday afternoon.
She added: “He was not a gang member or anything like that. We really do not know why this has happened to our family.” The schoolboy, a former pupil at Highbury Grove, was stabbed on the 393 bus in Highbury New Park following a row with another teenager. Pupils from Highbury Grove School had boarded the bus only moments before the violence erupted.
Horrified passengers looked on as paramedics spent 20 minutes trying to revive the wounded teenager on the pavement before he was airlifted to hospital. Derek, who turned 16 on Tuesday, died late last night in his hospital bed surrounded by friends. One friend, who had known Derek since their days at Brook Community Primary School in Hackney, described Derek’s last moments on Twitter.
Tweeting as @shanflockavelli, she said: “Seeing my close friend on life support… do you know how much that hurts? I held his hand just 10 mins ago… derek, please, I don’t want to believe this.” Three hours later she added: “I love you and miss you already man! I’m so glad I got to talk and visit you before you passed away. I love you.
“Just to think he didn’t even get a taster of the 16 year old life.” Billie-Jo Hanmore, from Hackney, posted on Facebook: “Truly one of the nicest, funniest boys I’ve ever met! No one can ever replace Derek, his cheeky smile, his laugh, his banter! Everything! Gone but never forgotten! We love you.”
Another friend, who did not wish to be named, told the Standard: “Derek was loved by everybody and all his friends, I’m just still gobsmacked that Derek is gone. He will be missed by everyone.” Derek was described by friends as a “lively” boy, but “never really knew what he wanted to do”. A friend said: “He was a confused boy, but he loved making jokes and was a lively boy, very energetic. We are all shocked that Derek has gone but this is not our first experience of serious knife crime.”
Derek was a former pupil at Highbury Grove School, but had been excluded for bad behaviour and was attending Regent’s Vocational College in Hackney at the time of his death, according to sources. One report suggested Derek had gone back to the Highbury school to confront an old classmate. A source said: “He and his attacker hung out in rival gangs, that is what caused the problem.”
Tuesday’s attack was the fifth teenage stabbing in London in the past few days. This year five teenagers have been murdered in the capital, three have been stabbed and two shot. Police are still questioning a 15-year-old boy who was first arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to call police on 020 8345 3734, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.