The family of a “cherished and loved” young man who was stabbed to death in Peckham have made a desperate plea for witnesses to help the police.
Ernest Kalawa was found on December 30 with multiple stab wounds, including a slash on his neck, in Haymerle Road. Paramedics pronounced the 24-year-old dead at the scene after they were called just after 5.30pm.
Police taped off a grassy area outside Deerhurst House where Ernest was said to have been chased and jumped on by two attackers.
A 23-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, and released on bail until a date in April. A post-mortem held on January 1 confirmed the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.
Friends of the young man, who neighbours said lived on the estate, were visiting the site where he was killed, which is now covered in a huge shrine of flowers and candles.
Ernest’s grieving family made a statement on Tuesday via the Met Police.
The family said: “Ernest’s tragic death is a massive loss to the family. Everyone is in shock and struggling to come to terms with the loss of our son, brother, cousin, and friend. At the moment the pain is still very fresh.
“Our family only really want time and space to grieve in private, and ask that the press and media respect our wishes. Ernest was loved and cherished and we all miss him deeply.”
Three young men who spoke to the News as they paid their respects by lighting candles at the huge circle of flowers said: “He was cherished.
“He was a good guy, and very much loved.”
A woman whose flat in Denstone overlooked the spot where Ernest was killed, said she had been walking with her sister there just half an hour before the attack.
“There was a gentleman who lives near here who was walking his two dogs and saw [Ernest] being chased,” the woman said.
“He said he was chased by two boys wearing all black.
“When he saw that the boy they were beating up was still on the floor, he went over.
“They stabbed the boy in the neck. He tried to help the boy, and held him. The police took his DNA.”
She added: “I knew the boy, I had seen him hanging around here a few years ago. No one had the right to take his life.
“I have lived here sixteen years, nothing like this ever happens, you can leave your door open during the day on this estate.”
Detective chief inspector Lee Watling from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Did you see anything suspicious around 5.30pm last Friday afternoon near Haymerle Road or Frensham Street, Peckham?
“I am extremely keen to hear from anyone who was in the area of this tragic incident as they may hold vital information that will assist our investigation. I would urge anyone who witnessed the assault or the moments leading up to it to call police and tell us what they know.”
The police’s incident room is ready to take your calls from witnesses on 020 8721 4205. Crimestoppers can also be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.