Mar 28 2010
A 15-year-old boy murdered in one of Britain's busiest railway stations during rush hour was a "talented footballer", it emerged.
Sofyen Belamouadden, from Acton, west London, suffered multiple stab wounds during a fracas at Victoria Underground station, in central London, on Thursday.
His family spoke of their anguish and branded the teenager's attackers "cowards with no respect for life or the people they leave behind".
His uncle told the Mail on Sunday the teenager played football for Acton Garden Village Youth Sunday League team in West London and for Chelsea Kicks, a scheme run by the Premier League club for young people in deprived areas. A spokesman for the club described Sofyen as a "talented footballer" and a "valued participant" on the scheme.
The detective leading the murder investigation said he believes Sofyen may have died during a pre-arranged fight. In a post on Facebook, Sofyen's aunt Nadia Ghailan said her nephew's death should not "be in vain" and urged anyone with information to contact her privately on the social networking site.
Ms Ghailan wrote: "RIP Sof we love and miss you, we have lost a son, a brother, a nephew a grandson, cousin and friend. if anyone has any information about this senseless brutal murder please come forward. Please do not let his death be in vain."
More than 2,600 people joined a Facebook group called RIP Sofyen. One of them, Salimaa Deej Salvatore wrote: "You will always remain in out hearts Sofyen. We love you."
Detectives were holding 19 boys aged between 15 and 17 who are mainly from south London. A Scotland Yard spokesman said a number of weapons had been recovered and all are undergoing forensic examination. At least two knives were recovered from the scene of the attack. A man in his 30s who was also arrested was later released with no further action to be taken.
Det Ch Insp John McFarlane, from the Metropolitan Police Service, said: "I believe this was a pre-planned fight; a number of individuals travelled by various bus routes to Victoria carrying weapons, however I retain an open mind re motive at this stage."
He added: "We continue to appeal for witnesses to come forward and tell us what they saw on that Thursday night. The incident took place during a busy rush hour and I am appealing for anyone who was there to speak with us."