A fifteen-year-old boy was stabbed to death by four attackers who ambushed him as he walked to school in south London today.
The teenager, named locally as Zac, was chased by the gang before being struck in the chest with a machete-type knife, witnesses said.
The attack took place in the grounds of the Park Campus School, in West Norwood, which the boy had been trying to reach for safety.
Witnesses said a teacher tried to ward off the assailants, who had been waiting in a car, but was unable to prevent the teenager being knifed.
Despite the teacher applying first aid, the boy collapsed in her arms, according to witnesses. He was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
A second boy, also thought to be 15, was also stabbed but only suffered minor injuries. Four boys, three of whom are about 14 years old, were being questioned by murder squad detectives.
The school is a specialist facility which educates some of London’s most troubled youngsters, including those with social, behavioural and emotional difficulties. Opened two years ago, it was hailed as the first of its kind in Britain, aimed at getting young people back into mainstream education.
All pupils at the school, which has 80 places, were being kept inside for questioning by teachers and police.
Saima Safdar, 30, who runs a shop opposite the school, claimed the attack had been carried out by members of a gang from Tulse Hill.
She said: “He was a schoolboy and when he came here four people were waiting in the car. They got out and they were running behind him. They had a really big knife, like a machete.There was a teacher standing there because they know schoolchildren here are involved in gangs. The teacher ran behind to save him but they stabbed him in the heart and ran off.
“The boy fell down in the teacher’s arms. She was pressing on his chest but he died.” Residents living near the school said the area was plagued by “unruly” children.
One, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said: “There is always trouble out here. We see the police all the time. It gets so scary I try to be home by four o’clock as I don’t want to get caught up in it.” A friend of the murdered teenager, said: “He was the nicest friend, the nicest boy in the whole school.
“When I first came here he was the first one to welcome me. I’ll always remember him.”
Headteacher of Park Campus Richard Leonard said of the killing: “This is a terrible tragedy and the whole school is in shock. We will be providing all the support we can to pupils and their families.”