The grieving brother of Joshua Boadu, who was fatally stabbed in broad daylight in Bermondsey, has paid tribute to the “easy-going” 23 year old who moved to the area for a safer life after being knifed as a child in Peckham.
Joshua, known to his friends as SJ, was fatally stabbed following a run in with a group of males in Linsey Street at about 6.21pm on June 11.
He was put on life support at King’s College Hospital where his family kept a vigil at his bedside for eleven days until he sadly passed away after his heart stopped beating in the early hours of Friday, June 22.
Joshua was born at the very same hospital on April 14, 1995, to his Ghanaian parents Frank, 62, and Pat, 47.
The apprentice engineer was the third child in a devout Christian family and had two older brothers, Jeffrey, 28, and Jerry, 25, and a younger sister, Joanna, 22, with whom he was extremely close.
Paying tribute to his youngest brother, Jeffrey Boadu, 28, told the News: “I think the key word to describe him is easy going; he wasn’t a life of the party sort of person, he was just quiet and minded his own business, stuck with the same friends.
“Since he came to Bermondsey he’d go to music festivals and things which he never used to before and I know he enjoyed that a lot and listening to house music.
“We were all close but Josh was definitely closest to my sister Joanna because of their ages and them living in my Mum’s house.
“They had the same group of friends and were like best friends.”
Joshua went to school at St Joseph’s Catholic College in West Norwood before going on to Saint Francis Xavier College in Wandsworth.
He and his family previously lived in Peckham but decided to move to Bermondsey after he was stabbed in an unprovoked attack as a youngster.
“I think something happened to someone from Peckham and they thought my brother Jerry had done it and they maybe saw Josh and thought ‘that’s his brother’,” said Jeffrey.
“He was young – he was only twelve or thirteen at the time. It wasn’t as serious as this time and I don’t think he spent the night in the hospital but it was definitely something we were worried about so I urged my Mum to move to Bermondsey.
“I work in a school so I’m with a lot of secondary school students and the amount of students that have said they’ve seen their friend get stabbed, it’s quite worrying and it’s a traumatising thing to see.”
Jeffrey said his brother always had at least two friends around him and was never alone – apart from the day he was fatally stabbed.
Joshua was stabbed three times before he managed to run to safety at a friend’s home in nearby Lucey Way, his brother said.
“He was stabbed in the chest – not the heart, but it cut an artery which caused the most damage – and he was stabbed in the shoulder blade where I guess he tried to run off and in his hand as well,” said Jeffrey.
“The hospital didn’t see him seeing it through the weekend so he definitely fought hard – he was very strong.
“We wanted him to pass when he was ready and he passed at 00.35am on Friday [June 22] with immediate family around him and his girlfriend Chloe.
“They had been together a few years and she was at the hospital every day first thing in the morning.
“We are all trying to stay strong for my Mum really because it hit my Mum really hard but I think it will hit my sister.
“Josh and his friends kept themselves to themselves so it seemed so out of the blue that it didn’t feel real – and it still doesn’t feel real.”
Joshua’s death has rocked Jeffrey to the point he now plans to move away from the area with his wife Claire and their twins.
“I’m trying to get out for my children’s sake; I don’t know when this kind of thing is going to end,” he said. “It just seems to be part and parcel of life which is crazy.
“I don’t regret my upbringing – I’ve learned a lot of life lessons so it does definitely build your character – but now, especially with Josh’s killing, it seems you don’t even need to be gang affiliated now to be targeted.
“I think life is too short and you’ve got to realise your time could come at any moment.
“That’s what I’ve realised now – you’ve got to try and enjoy your life as much as possible, especially your loved ones.”
Jeffrey also thanked the community, who gathered together to pray for Joshua at a candlelit vigil at Bermondsey’s Blue Market square last Tuesday.
“I have to thank the Bermondsey community as a whole because they’ve shown my family so much love and we don’t even know some of them necessarily – but they knew Josh,” he said.
“He had a massive impact on people other than his own family, so much so that they were basically family as well.
“I think young people need to think about the long-term effects of using a knife and consider if it’s worth it to destroy someone’s family and destroy your own family as well.
“Nothing good can come out of using a knife.”
Police are appealing for information after launching a murder investigation into Joshua’s death.
Detectives believe an “altercation involving a group of males” began outside Helen Taylor House in Linsey Street before Joshua sought refuge at an address in Lucey Way.
No arrests have yet been made.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police incident room on 0208 7214 005 or via 101 quoting reference cad 6365/11Jun.
To report information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit http://crimestoppers-uk.org/