The Brandon Estate community and its youth workers say they are devastated, frustrated and increasingly angry after the death of an eighteen-year-old amid stalled promises to invest in youth work and safety improvements.
Last Thursday, Clinton Evbota became the third teenage boy to die on the Camberwell estate since 2018, just yards from where seventeen-year-old Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton was found shot dead in Warham Street in May 2018, three months before Sidique Kamara was fatally stabbed on the same street.
Eighteen-year-old Clinton was attacked at around 8.20pm on October 10, and found on Grimsel Path after police were called by residents witnessing the attack.
At the time of his death, Clinton was living in Kent. The News understands his family had moved from the estate to get away from gang violence, but that night he had returned to Camberwell to visit friends.
A fundraiser set up to help pay for the cost of his funeral, and raise funds for his grieving mother, described him as a “pure-hearted person” who had “never been involved in any knife crime and has never hurt anyone”. Within three days 150 people had donated more than £2,000.
At the time of going to press, no one has been arrested.
The death has brought more trauma to families, many of whom have said they were angry with the way the estate had been portrayed in the national press, as the “deadliest in Britain”.
The News understands the majority of gang-related activity, or targeted attacks, happens in a relatively small area known for its rat-run walkways.
In the aftermath of 2018’s murders, at a heated public meeting, Southwark Council leader Peter John pledged to re-open shut-down community spaces on the estate and commit £10,000 toward youth work.
Residents’ demands – including trimming back tree cover and installing comprehensive CCTV – were heeded and taken forward.
But a year later this funding has run out and the CCTV is not completed. But the critical issue, residents say, is the future of their community spaces.
Brandon 1 TRA Tom Lloyd said last year the council decided to close the Jack Hobbs Club.
“However,” he said “with the murders last year and the unwanted press attention, the council backtracked after being criticised for closing the community space on the estate.
“Southwark have now invested £150,000 to repair the Jack Hobbs Club, to keep it open for couple of years, but are consulting on demolishing the building over the next few years.
“In reality the hall still has a commercial tenant, and almost no community activities have been run since April 2018, despite all the great plans we are being promised.
“We very much believe that their intention is a land grab, with the site most likely being sold to a housing association who will build £500K+ ‘affordable homes’ on the site.
“Despite the killings, there has been a lot of talk from Southwark, but very little action. The community hall was an integral part of the original design and vision by the acclaimed architect Edward Hollamby, who designed the Brandon estate to serve the needs of the whole community.”
All three TRA chairs want Southwark to keep the estate’s communal spaces in community hands – and pledge to not sell them off to any developers.
A public meeting was due to be held on the estate on Wednesday evening.
The News understands the first new CCTV cameras were added in April 2018, with the remainder due to go live by the end of this month.
Council-funded youth work on the estate includes Southwark Young Advisors, and an early intervention project aimed at eleven to nineteen-year-olds.
Councillor Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “I am so sad that a young man has tragically lost his life in our borough.
“My heart goes out to Clinton’s family and friends after they’ve suffered this devastating loss. I have made it my mission to do everything within my power to put an end to this kind of violence, which destroys families, breaks hearts and unsettles communities.
“We have responded to all the issues the Tenants’ & Residents’ Associations have raised with us and will continue to do everything we can to support residents, but we all know that tackling violent crime is hugely complex and challenging.”