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Teen stabbing victim memorial is removed

Family would like to see housing block named after Richard Everitt

29 June, 2020 — By Tom Foot

THE family of a teenager who was stabbed to death were left furious after a memorial to him was removed without them first being informed.

Relatives of Richard Everitt, who died age 15 after he was attacked in Somers Town, said the council was supposed to tell them when the plaque and bench would be moved out of the Purchese Street Open Space.

The tribute is set to be relocated after the land was sold to a private company as part of a tower block development.

Richard’s older brother, Danny, 45, told the New Journal: “We knew the plaque was coming down at some point, but they said they’d tell us when it was happening. “We found out on the internet basically – it was a pretty bad way to find out. My mum was really upset. The memorial bench has been moved into a fenced-off area.”

Richard Everitt

He added: “The flats they are building there, because they are not social housing, we’ve been told we can’t have the plaque put back there. “They have said ‘we will do something with the plaque’ and there is talk of having a memorial garden, but there is no time frame, nothing has been guaranteed.”

Richard, who went to William Ellis and South Camden Community School, was murdered on August 13, 1994.

He had been on his way home from playing football when he was confronted by around 20 older boys and stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife as he tried to run to safety. The attack on Richard and his friends was said to be in revenge for a jewellery mugging by another Somers Town boy a day before.

At the Old Bailey trial, the judge – who jailed Badrul Miah for life for the murder – described it “as an unprovoked racial attack”.

Mr Everitt said he now plans to start a petition to rename Cecil Rhodes House, an estate in Somers Town, after his dead brother. Camden Council is reviewing the names of buildings following the Black Lives Matter protests which followed the George Floyd killing in the US.

Mr Everitt said: “I’m all for BLM – racism does exist. But it is on all sides. I don’t think that block should be renamed after someone who isn’t relevant to Camden. There are innocent people who died for nothing, who are being forgotten. I’ve been talking to friends and a lot of people think it’s a good idea.”

He said that after his young brother died he “went off the rails”, adding: “There was a lot of trouble in the area at the time. There were kids in gangs. But it was mostly fighting with areas like Queen’s Crescent, fisti­cuffs. Same with Drummond Street. You’d have a tear-up. I grew up as one of the lads in Somers Town. I always said that if it had happened to me, people wouldn’t have been as shocked.

“But Richard was quiet, he was nothing like the rest of us. All he was interested in was building bikes, [and] playing the Megadrive. Him and his group of mates, they were just into football, they weren’t troublemakers.”

He added: “It’s been 25 years now and look how much worse things are. There is no community. All the pubs and youth clubs have been shut. They’ve killed off all the local communities.”

Richard’s murder led to tensions between youths in Regent’s Park and Somers Town estates for several years. The Camden Action Now campaign was launched with the Everitt family in a bid to unite the Somers Town community with a series of meetings in youth clubs. The campaign was successful in forcing improvements at some schools and on estates.

The Richard Everitt plaque reads: “Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Always with us darling. Mummy. Daddy. Daniel. Lucy. Shirley and all your family and friends.”

A Camden Council spokesman said: “We are committed to retaining a memorial to Richard Everitt in Somers Town – our thoughts remain with his family and all who knew him. We temporarily removed the plaque at the end of January and put it in safe storage to ensure it did not get damaged by development in the area, while Richard’s memorial bench was moved to a nearby open space in Somers Town. We have kept in close contact with Richard’s parents during this process and we will agree a new location for the plaque once the works have been finished.”

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