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Croydon: Police quiz teenager as tributes pour in for girl, 15, murdered on way to school in south London


he family of a 15-year-old girl stabbed to death on her way to school have spoken of their heartbreak, revealing that the aspiring lawyer had been robbed of “a great future”.

Elianne Andam collapsed after being knifed in the neck with a foot-long blade when she reportedly stepped in to protect a friend during Wednesday’s morning rush hour in Croydon.

A bus driver and passers-by battled to save the life of the Old Palace of John Whitgift School pupil but she died on the pavement minutes later.

Detectives have been given more time to question a 17-year-old boy over the murder, which they described as “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

‘Elianne was the light of our lives’, her family said

/ Metropolitan Police

In a statement a spokesperson for Elianne’s family said on Thursday: “Our hearts are broken by the senseless death of our daughter.

“Elianne was the light of our lives. She was bright and funny, with many friends who all adored her.

“She was only 15, and had her whole life ahead of her, with hopes and dreams for the future.

“All those dreams have now been shattered. Our lives have fallen apart, along with that of our wider family.”

Elianne was ‘bright and funny, with many friends who all adored her’

/ Metropolitan Police

Her family released a number of images of the schoolgirl as they asked for privacy “to grieve the the short life of our beautiful child.”

The victim’s aunt Marian, who lives half a mile from the crime scene, earlier said: “She went to a private school paid by my sister and had a great future ahead of her. She wanted to be a lawyer. She also loved gymnastics and doing her hair. We are a big family and will support each other. We are devastated.

“We can’t comprehend the heartbreak of the last 24 hours. She went to school and didn’t come home. It hasn’t sunk in. My sister is not feeling good, this is a tragedy.”

Witnesses said Elianne was stabbed after intervening in a heated argument between her friend and the friend’s former “boyfriend” near Croydon’s Whitgift shopping centre.

Elianne was fatally stabbed as she made her way to school

/ Metropolitan Police

It is understood the boy tried to give a bouquet of flowers to his former girlfriend on a No60 double-decker bus, which was packed with commuters and other school children.

The stabbing is said to have happened shortly they got off when the girl is said to have rejected the flowers.

Elianne was said to have intervened, leading the boy to reportedly pull out the foot-long, serrated zombie knife before stabbing her in the neck and chest.

Flowers left at the scene on Thursday

/ Jeremy Selwyn

Scotland Yard confirmed a 17-year-old boy was arrested 75 minutes later in New Addington. No one else was being sought over the attack.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said magistrates had granted officers a further 24 hours to hold the teenage suspect until tomorrow morning.

Elianne, from a West African Christian family, was the 15th teenage victim of homicide in London so far this year, exceeding the figure for the whole of last year. Of the young people killed, 13 were stabbed while two were shot. There were 14 teenage homicides in the capital last year. The worst year for teen homicides in London was 2021, when 30 teenagers lost their lives.

15 Year Old Girl Fatally Stabbed Near Whitgift Centre In Croydon, UK

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley have both visited the scene of the killing.

Outside Elianne’s school, Mal Soor, the father of head girl Chilteen Soor, said: “Every parent is devastated. Fifteen is no age at all to be killed in the street.

“It seems unbelievable to even think we need to have conversations with our children about knife crime. I tell them to always have their wits about them and be streetwise but even that is not enough.

“My daughter is in bits because the school community is so small. Everyone knows everybody.

Forensic investigators at the scene in Croydon

/ PA

“I have to go to work today but all I want is to be with Chilteen and throw a protective ring around her.”

The private girls’ school said in a statement: “We are deeply shocked by the senseless and tragic death of our much-loved and valued friend and pupil.

“It will take some time for the Old Palace community to come to terms with this terrible news, and we will offer support to our pupils as we try to do so.”

A steady flow of well-wishers left flowers and cards near the scene this morning. Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain told reporters yesterday: “This is every parent’s worst nightmare, and I know the officers who responded this morning, along with our emergency service colleagues, are devastated at the victim’s death.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (left) arrives at the scene near the Whitgift shopping centre

/ PA

“This is an emotion I share and I know people across Croydon will be feeling the same.”

A mother witnessed the moments after Elianne was stabbed. The woman, named Iman, said: “I was driving past when I noticed that somebody was lying down on the floor.

“I drove round, parked up and tried to get as close as I could. Two young girls were saying it was a young lady and she had been stabbed in the neck. I haven’t really slept properly because I still have that image of her lying there.”

Anyone who witnessed what happened who has not yet spoken to police is asked to call 101 quoting CAD 1601/27Sep.

You can also share information, photos and videos directly with police here.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/teenage-girl-stabbed-to-death-croydon-wellesley-road-south-london-met-police-b1109762.html Croydon: Police quiz teenager as tributes pour in for girl, 15, murdered on way to school in south London

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