Elianne Andam: ‘No young person should ever hold a knife’ says cousin of murdered schoolgirl

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The government has announced new legislation to ban zombie knives and machetes almost eight years after they were first banned in 2016.

The family of murdered schoolgirl Elianne Andam has backed the government's renewed crackdown on zombie knives and machetes.

Elianne, 15, was stabbed to death on her way to school in Croydon on September 27 2023.

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Her death sent shockwaves through the community and her funeral and vigil was attended by 3,000 people, including the rapper Stormzy.

Last week the government announced that it will be illegal to possess, sell, manufacture or transport zombie-style knives and machetes from September onwards.

This is the government's third attempt at banning the blades since 2016. Previous attempts to ban zombie knives have defined them as having a cutting or serrated edge and "images or words that suggest that it is to be used for the purpose of violence".

The new law will mean that blades without any logos will also be recognised if they have other key features, such as a cutting or serrated edge, the Home Office said.

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Elianne’s family described her as “the light of our lives”. Credit: Met.Elianne’s family described her as “the light of our lives”. Credit: Met.
Elianne’s family described her as “the light of our lives”. Credit: Met. | Met

The legislation comes after actor Idris Elba launched the Don't Stop Your Future campaign, calling for an immediate ban on these knives.

Elianne’s cousin, Reverend Denzil Larbi, said: “I’m all for endorsing the knife ban. These weapons are lethal weapons, no young person should ever hold such a weapon.

“I’m hoping that serious measures are taken to make sure they stay off our streets.”

Elianne Andam's cousin  Rev Denzil LarbiElianne Andam's cousin  Rev Denzil Larbi
Elianne Andam's cousin Rev Denzil Larbi | Lynn Rusk

Speaking to LondonWorld at a community meeting in Croydon, Rev Larbi said that Elianne’s death is still very raw for the family.

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“We’re devastated beyond words but we’re really looking to allow her legacy to live on,” he said.

“She loved law, she loved justice, she loved helping people so we don’t want any family to go through what we’ve gone through.

“We really want to start putting things in place to honour her legacy.

“Literally, Elianne died two minutes away from where I preach every single Sunday.

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“We recognise that this situation can happen to anyone. It's really mindful that there’s a lot that needs to happen in Croydon.”

2023 was a difficult year for Croydon, with the alleged murders of 10 people including two teenagers. 2022 had seen no teenagers stabbed to death in the borough.

Anthony King, chair of My EndsAnthony King, chair of My Ends
Anthony King, chair of My Ends | Lynn Rusk

Anthony King, chair of My Ends, a community organisation that deals with youth violence, remains hopeful that things are improving as the borough has seen a reduction in gang related violence.

“We’ve gone two years in Croydon with no gang related teenager murder,” Mr King told LondonWorld.

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“It's never going to be heartwarming for families who have lost someone in the last year or so.

“We’ve worked so hard with amazing organisations in the borough to ensure that there’s no teenager that’s been murdered associated with gang culture.”

Mr King said he wishes the government's legislation could happen sooner than September.

“I wish they did it tomorrow but I know we’re going to have to hold together to work through a challenging spring and summer,” he said.

In 2023 the number of teenage killings in London rose, with 22 young people losing their lives compared to 14 in 2022. The figure is still below the 2021 high of 30.