A 36-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of a teenage boy who was stabbed to death in south-east London.
Levi Ernest-Morrison, 17, was found lying in a pool of blood near his home in Sydenham, south-east London, and died at the scene despite efforts to save him.
His mother and stepfather, both carers, were among the first to arrive at the scene as they tried to stem his bleeding and administered CPR. Tragically, their ‘loving son’ died in his mother’s arms.
Police officers were called to the scene at around 7.20pm on Saturday after reports that someone had suffered stab wounds. Witnesses claim they saw three boys fleeing the scene, one on a scooter and two on foot.
Nichola Leighton, from Sydenham, will appear at Bromley Magistrates’ Court today accused of his murder.
Levi Ernest-Morrison was stabbed to death while standing on a Sydenham street corner with his mother on Saturday evening. Witnesses say they saw his mother sobbing beside Levi, pictured with his younger brother, as he died
Forensic officers attended the scene in Sydenham, south London, on Saturday evening after Levi was stabbed to death. A 36-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody
A GoFundMe page set up to pay for Levi’s funeral says: ‘He was a beautiful son, a playful brother, a loving grandson, godson and nephew, a devoted boyfriend and a loyal friend’
A GoFundMe page set up to pay for Levi’s funeral told of his final moments.
It says: ‘Levi was an intelligent and loving boy. He was a beautiful son, a playful brother, a loving grandson, godson and nephew, a devoted boyfriend and a loyal friend.
‘But on Saturday around 8pm, he was a defenceless young boy, out with some friends only two minutes from home.’
It continued: ‘Popular culture glorifies and glamourises the violence and hardship that faces young men living in cities everyday.
‘But what most don’t know is that when these young people die they do so in pain and alone.
‘Gasping on the pavement. Clutching for their phone. Praying someone will find them, help them, heal them.’
The description added: ‘And yet it happens everyday to so many families. So many lives lost.’
The fundraiser, which will donate 20 per cent to the charity Lives Not Knives, has raised more than £6,500 at the time of writing.
It is being organised by someone known as J F, who said: ‘Words cannot describe how much Levi is loved and how much he is missed.’
Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Command are leading the investigation into the fatal stabbing and detectives are appealing for information from anyone who witnessed the incident.
People tried to stem Levi’s bleeding and administered CPR on the street in Sydenham, before emergency services arrived at the scene. Pictured: Police at the scene on Saturday
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Norman, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘We are appealing for anyone who was in the area on Saturday evening to come forward and speak with us.
‘One piece of information, no matter how small, could prove vital in us being able to provide Levi’s family with the answers they need.’
Officers and paramedics attended and found Levi with a stab injury. Despite their best efforts to save him he was pronounced dead shortly after 8pm.
A post-mortem examination held on Monday gave Levi’s preliminary cause of death as a stab wound leading to a catastrophic bleed.
Mourners including relatives, children and friends visited the scene of the incident today, while the officer who battled in vain to save Levi laid flowers in his memory.
Levi’s mother, who asked not to be named, fears her son was killed in a case of mistaken identity. She claimed: ‘He was waiting for his friends and he didn’t realise what his friends were doing.’
In an emotional tribute, Levi’s heartbroken stepfather said: ‘He was a lovely, caring boy. And now we have to assist with his funeral.’
His mother added: ‘He was a beautiful boy with a beautiful heart. My son was autistic and disabled so it hurts more. He has got a foot drop and damaged the side of his leg. He was a special case and he was a very special boy.’
Levi’s heartbroken mother has revealed how she planned to move her family to St Lucia as her son pursued a career in construction
One woman who saw the three boys running from the scene, said: ‘He just got stabbed. By the time I arrived, the mother was there. She was wailing.
‘The husband was there to console. When the police came, they moved her away from the scene. She was very upset. When I got there, the boy was fading out.
‘The colour of his face was changing, his lip colour was fading.
‘There were a lot of people there. People were crowding and somebody was trying to stop the bleeding from his side.
‘Whether he was stabbed in his side or in his back, I don’t know. He was lying on his back and there was blood on the floor from his back.
‘We were there long before the police and paramedics, they took 15 minutes to arrive.’ She added: ‘I was coming from the supermarket, I saw the crowd and somebody said somebody had just got stabbed so I went over to look.
‘I understand there were three boys chasing him. One went off on a scooter and the other two went on foot. They are a close, loving family. I’m just in shock.’
Levi’s mother said he attended the Kaleidescope support group in nearby Lewisham, where staff are in tears from the tragedy.
She said: ‘He was not a loudmouth boy, he wasn’t a nasty boy. He was very well mannered. My son was not in a gang and he didn’t even like drill music.
‘My son was not like that.’
Tributes were laid for Levi at the scene including dozens of flower bouquets, trinket dishes for an ‘amazing friend’ and two heart shaped gold balloons. Pictured: Police set up a large cordon as they investigate the stabbing on Saturday night
She added how her son had helped to save their neighbour’s life on multiple occasions and would not hurt a fly or even a garden plant.
She said: ‘Kaleidoscope help families and they do trips to support people with additional needs. They are in tears.
‘We had an education care plan because Levi had special needs. He was very quiet, he wasn’t on social media properly.
‘He was doing construction work and he wanted to build his own house. He was very good with his hands.
‘We were looking to move to the Caribbean because our family is from St Lucia. He loved St Lucia and that is where he wanted to be.
‘He was autistic and he had alopecia so he was conscious about his looks and he was conscious about going out.
‘He had nerve damage which affected his foot – he had a foot drop. So because of that he could not run and he could not walk properly without a crutch.
‘It is very important that people know my son for who he is and not have an opinion on somebody who you don’t know. If somebody fell over in the street, my kids would pick that person up.
‘My neighbour has had multiple strokes and blood clots and my sons have gone over there and helped to save her life with first aid. She is in bits.
Levi’s mother feared he was a ‘target’ because of his disabilities. Pictured: the scene on Saturday
‘Before my son was completely disabled, he built her garden. He loved it and he loved helping people. He wouldn’t hurt a fly and I couldn’t even put a tent up with him without damaging my plants.
‘He couldn’t go too far hence why he got into a situation. We know that my son was disabled and he was like a target.’
Tributes were laid for Levi at the scene including dozens of flower bouquets, trinket dishes for an ‘amazing friend’ and two heart shaped gold balloons.
A blue balloon reads ‘forever in our hearts’ while a collection of white tea lights spells out the teenager’s name as ‘Levi’.
One woman, who did not know the family but travelled from Forest Gate in east London to pay tribute, said: ‘It is just heartbreaking. People carry knives and use them as though it is a badge of honour.
‘I hope the family know we are all thinking of them and that they are in our thoughts and prayers.’
One flower tribute came with a message that read: ‘We are so sorry for the loss of a young life. Sending all kindness, strength and love to family and friends.
‘You are in our thoughts and may your boy rest in peace in a beautiful place.
‘Sydenham Hight Street, a place with a vibrant diverse community, people from all walks of life.
‘May we reunite through love and may we be kind to one another. RIP x.’
Police say they are continuing to investigate Levi’s death.
Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting the reference CAD6072/10APR, or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online.