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Southend York Road murder: Witness - we tried to save him
- Witness describes how neighbours tried to save murder victim
- Top police bosses urge residents not to jump to conclusions around motives
- York Road community call for CCTV
A WOMAN spoke of her shock at seeing the Southend murder victim lying in a pool of blood as neighbours tried to stem the bleeding.
The woman, in her twenties, who asked not to be named, saw 24-year-old Hassan Mohammed unconscious on steps leading to a flat in York Road after being stabbed in the chest and back.
The man was attacked outside a property at the junction of York Road and Old Southend Road at about 7pm on Monday. He died in hospital on Tuesday morning.
After hearing shouting, the woman looked out of her window and saw men running away from the victim.
She said: “I’m still in shock. I saw a group of males. They were all coming out of the flats and going towards the town.
“Five or ten minutes later, they came back and all of a sudden, there were words and noises, lots of shouting, saying something to the man who had been stabbed.
“I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but when I looked out of my window I saw a young man collapsed. I saw the stab wounds in his front and back. He may have been stabbed in the heart.
“As soon as they realised he had been stabbed, two men ran off. My brain started kicking in and I thought this man could die.’
“There was blood everywhere. I could see the holes and blood pouring out. They didn’t look big but they looked deep. The blood was gushing out.
“A lot of neighbours came out to him. People were trying to help him, trying to stop the bleeding. My neighbour shouted ‘Grab towels, grab towels!’
“She was trying to stop it and two other people also tried to help by putting pressure on the wounds.
“Someone called the police and ambulance, who were there within minutes.”
The victim could be heard screaming as he was transferred to an air ambulance, which had landed nearby in the Seaway car park.
The woman added: “I feel sick to the stomach. I think, why him? Why now? I’m still trying to figure out, if I saw someone with a weapon.
“It made me very upset and it will stick with me for a while.”
FEARS have been raised of an emerging gang culture taking hold in Southend, though a police study has ruled out such a trend.
Residents have blamed the killing on drug gangs operating in the area, but a recently- commissioned police study found gangs weren’t to blame for an increase in violent crime.
Speaking about the murder, a Kursaal ward resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Sometimes it can be scary. These incidents are coming closer and closer to your own doorstep. It’s definitely gang or drug-related. I guarantee there will be a comeback within five days.”
Another said: “It doesn’t surprise me, it’s all probably drug related. Drugs and drink are all the issues around here.
“I have a four-year-old and we walk up the road and he says ‘mummy, that man isn’t very well’. You just have to be blinkered to what’s going on around you.”
Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has urged residents not to jump to conclusions about the case.
He said: “The suspected murder in Southend is a shocking event.
“My thoughts and sincere condolences are with the family and friends of the young man who sadly lost his life.
“However, the detectives must be allowed to pursue all avenues and all lines of investigation to bring the person or people responsible for this crime to justice.”
RESIDENTS say streets near where the man was stabbed should have CCTV cameras to deter criminals.
Some say antisocial behaviour is a growing problem in and around York Road, and Monday night’s murder is just another setback for the community.
Gloria Terrell, 76, who lives nearby, said: “It’s terrible around here. If you aren’t clued up around here there’s a chance you will get robbed. They should have cameras.
There’s one at the bottom of Southchurch Avenue, but that’s just facing the seafront. They should be here, as this is the main area where all the crime is.”
Another resident said: “So many bad things used to happen around here. People say it’s completely different now, but then when something like this happens it makes you think maybe it’s not.”
Labour Kursaal ward councillor, Ann Jones, described the mood after the murders as “sombre”.
She said: “If people say they want CCTV, we can put that proposal forward, but there is a camera nearby, and at the end of the road, and it wouldn’t have stopped anything.
“York Road has this reputation, but for every day when we wake up and something bad has happened, we have a lot more where nothing has happened.”