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WANDSWORTH: Dog gang admit terrifying school attack
Six teenage gang members have admitted carrying out a terrifying attack in a Wandsworth school, where a pupil was stabbed six times and a snarling pitbull was released into a playground full of children.
Teachers and pupils froze in horror as the innocent 16-year-old was knifed in the chest and buttock.
The gang, all aged between 14 and 18, “steamed” into the school on April 24 this year just after the hometime bell rang at 3.30pm.
An illegal pitbull was let loose, chasing terrifed pupils inside the school building, while other gang members swung the dog’s metal chain at youngsters outside. It is believed the gang members had come to the school looking for a pupil who was in a rival gang.
However when an innocent boy stepped in to calm them down he was stabbed and had to be airlifted to hospital.
Immediately after the attack, one of the gang - Shadrick Heslop - retrieved the dog and calmly put it back on its chain.
As the gang fled they were heard chanting their gang name “ABM, ABM” - which stands for All About Money.
A Wandsworth Police spokesman said the attack was so horrific it even stunned teachers.
The source said: “A teacher ran out to intervene but said they were so shocked by the scene they froze.”
The gang were caught close to the scene by police.
At Inner London Crown Court last Wednesday, Heslop, 18, of Streatham, pleaded guilty to fear and provocation of violence.
Robert Anderson, 18, also of Stockwell, pleaded guilty to violent disorder along with two 16-year-olds and another aged 14.
Another 16-year-old was bound over for a year.
None of the of defendants under the age of 18 can be identified for legal reasons.
Heslop and Anderson were remanded in custody. All six will be sentenced next month.
Detective Inspector Simon Rowe, who led the investigation, said: “It took a lot of team work to get the case to court and to get pleas from those who committed the attacks. The sentencing will reflect how serious the attack was.
“This does send out a strong message that people who are involved in gang crime will be prosecuted.”
The stabbed boy - whose identity must be protected for legal reasons - returned to school and passed a high number of GCSEs this summer.
The school’s headteacher added: “That has been the best outcome out of this. He recovered quickly and it took a lot of strengh of character and determination to come back to school.”
The pitbull was put down by police.
HERO PCSOs WHO SAVED STABBED BOY AND POUNCED ON GANG Three police community support officers (PCSOs) who were first on the scene of the stabbing and pounced on the gang members have been recommended for awards.
It was their actions - stemming the blood from the stabbed boy, calling for back-up support and ambulance and catching two of the gang - that helped bring the gang to justice and help save the boy.
Officers Jose Rodriguez, Ricardo Berthelot and Ajfizur Rahman were on patrol when the attack happened.
Officer Rodriguez had been in the job just for two weeks and was on his first patrol when it happened.
At the time he said: “I couldn’t believe it, but the training really helped. I attended to the victim and tried to stop his blood while the other two chased the attackers.”
Officer Berthelot, 25, who has been a PCSO for two years, then added: “It was scary - we didn’t expect it, but the team work was fantastic. We helped the victim by applying pressure to his wounds.”
After helping the victim the other two officers held two gang members down until police back-up arrived.
Chief Inspector Tim Harding, head of safer neighbourhood teams in Wandsworth, said: “PCSOs have had a poor press but they have a different role to police officers. They do intervene at an appropriate level and do an exceptional job.
“The three have been put forward for an award.”
Detective Inspector Simon Rowe said the PCSO’s were also instrumental in bringing the gang to justice.
He said: “The PCSO’s did a great job and the team were on the site in a couple of minutes and save the boy.
“Through their accounts that we were able to bring the gang to justice and getting the gang to court involved a lot of work from detectives so it was a good team effort.”
SCHOOL'S SECURITY CALLED INTO QUESTION The stabbing of a 16-year-old in broad daylight in front of fellow pupils in the middle of a school playground shocked the community as well as parents.
The headteacher at the school said there was little the school could do to stop the attack.
He said: “We all had to get through it and we are very good at keeping knives off the premises. There was nothing else we could have done this attack came out of the blue and the school had to be open as pupils were leaving.”
He added the school was working with police and community projects to help in the fight against gangs, but said even the introduction of random knife arch checks had produced “nothing more than a mobile”.
Clive Lett, Wandsworth Police’s youth engagement inspector, added the school was very engaged in projects.
He said: “As an immediate response to this incident those responsible were identified by safer neighbourhood officers engaged in their regular patrols outside the school which are ongoing. Since, we have continued to build on the already strong relationships with staff and pupils, the youth engagement team have delivered assemblies to reassure pupils and staff as well as fostering engagement with our partners to support the school.”
He added the school was one of the first in London to become involved in Operation Sharp - the School Help Advice Reporting Page - which allows young people to submit information to the police anonymously as well as sending out messages of personal health, safety and good citizenship.
The headteacher added more community work was needed on gang culture.
“I think the way that needs to be done is by preventative work with the police and society to work to stop these kinds of groups, they get to a point they can do anything they like," he said. “This is what happens when two worlds collide.”
WHO ARE ABM? All About Money appears to be a relatively new gang operating in the Stockwell and Brixton area.
In Wandsworth there are a number of gangs, who have clearly defined geographical patches.
Battersea is dominated by SUK (Stick Up Kids).
The Tooting Boys stay mainly around central Tooting and SMS (Strictly Muslim Soldiers) operate in Wandsworth towards Mitcham.
A Tamil gang, Tooting Tamils, also operates in Tooting, and four members of a rival Tamil gang, The Jaffna Boys from Croydon, were jailed for life earlier this year for stabbing Tooting supermarket worker Prabaskaran Kannan to death.
They wrongly thought he was a member of the Tooting Tamils.