Teenager Jayden Moodie had been excluded from school weeks before he was murdered it emerged today, as his local MP called for vulnerable children to be given better support to stay in mainstream education.
Friends of the 14-year-old said he had been excluded from Heathcote School in Chingford for activities outside school, which teachers spotted on social media.
One said: “He was excluded from school a few months ago. It was not for stuff done at school, he was bright and good at school, he was in the top sets for almost everything but it was social media things which got him in trouble.”
They added: “He was well liked and clever we are all very upset. It’s a good school and we all devastated about this.”
Jayden’s family read a statement on the tragic stabbing (PA)
Detectives believe the attack was “targeted and intent on lethal force from the outset” and they are hunting three men who used a Mercedes B Class car to ram the boy off his moped.
Investigators at the scene in Waltham Forest (Nigel Howard)
Neither the school or Waltham Forest council would comment on the exclusion today. It is understood the teenager was offered a place at a Pupil Referral Unit but it is not known if he had attended.
The development emerged as local MP Stella Creasy said deaths of children in gang violence in London are increasingly linked to exclusions from school.
She said victims were often children sent home from lessons because of mental health problems and urged the Government to give more support to vulnerable teenagers to help them stay in education and avoid being exploited by criminal gangs as drug couriers.
In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the Walthamstow MP said this week’s “horrific” murder was the sixth death of a young person in her borough in 18 months
“There is a recognised link between social exclusion and mental illness,” she said. “Amongst the violence we are seeing in our community there is clear evidence of the relationship between the educational status of a child and their vulnerability, and the importance of well-being in preventing any escalation of violence.”
Child victim: Jayden Moodie in a Facebook picture. His sister said he was caring and loving
Ms Creasy said keeping teenagers safe from gang exploitation and violence would require a “public health” approach to crime, including mental health specialists in Pupil Referral Units and more funding for organisations working with children excluded from schools.
Police have briefed MPs that in one London borough, Croydon, a study found that 60 kids involved in serious violence had all been excluded from schools.
Meanwhile further details emerged today of the teenager’s troubled background and his possible interest in gang culture.
The boy was said to have been stabbed in the back seven times (Nigel Howard)
His father Julian Moodie, 51, was reportedly jailed in 2009 after he was caught selling crack cocaine and heroin to an undercover police officer in a sting operation in Basildon, Essex. He moved to Jamaica on his release.
On his Facebook page the boy describes himself as a “trapper kid”, urban slang for drug dealer, while in one picture he appears making the sign of a handgun and in another he clutches a fistful of bank notes.
Last night the boy’s family insisted he had “absolutely no affiliation with gangs”.
Jayden’s cousin, Leon Green, said: “Focus needs to be on the fact that he has been brutally murdered in cold blood and deserves a fair chance at justice as much as anyone else in this situation.
“If there are people in our streets that are capable of killing a 14-year-old child, then no-one is safe, and they need to be caught and brought to justice.”
Anyone with information should call 020 8345 3734 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.