Two arrested as three men 'from Sikh community' stabbed to death in Ilford

Gareth Davies
Forensics officers at the scene in Seven Kings, Ilford after a multiple stabbing - PA

The stabbing of three men in a street brawl involving groups from the Sikh community has been described as 'bloodbath' by local residents.

The victims named locally by family and friends as Narinder Singh, 26, Harinder Kumar, 22, and Baljit Singh, 34 are thought to have been construction workers from India.

Witnesses have described the "horrific" aftermath of the fight in Ilford, east London on Sunday evening.

All involved are understood to be from the Sikh and Hindu communities and it is understood that the violence spilled out from a nearby event after tensions had risen following a row on Saturday, according to The Times.  

On Monday, family members spoke out about their heartbreak following the incident. 

Narinder Singh's brother Jasbal Singh told the Evening Standard that he had rushed to the scene the moment he heard. 

Speaking to the paper, he said: “There was blood everywhere.

“I shouted 'wake up, wake up' but it was no good. I had lost him.

“He was a great brother and a popular guy with no enemies. I am devastated.”

He added that his heart was “broken” after losing “not only my brother but a best friend I lived with”.

Police responded to reports of a disturbance in Elmstead Road, Seven Kings, in Ilford, east London, on Sunday at 7.38pm.

All three men were pronounced dead at the scene and the Metropolitan Police said the victims are believed to be aged in their 20s or 30s.

The two men, aged 29 and 39, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Speaking at the scene on Monday, Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman said the suspects and the victims were all known to each other.

Forensic officers in Ilford Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

"Residents in and around the Seven Kings area will see extra officers on patrol; if you have any concerns, or information that could assist the investigation, please stop and speak to them."

While they are still investigating a motive, police have ruled out terrorism, he said.

A police cordon was in place outside Seven Kings railway station on Monday morning.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Considine who is leading the investigation last night said: "At this early stage, I do not believe this was gang or race-related.

"But I believe there may have been an ongoing dispute between those involved. We believe the five men were involved in an altercation the previous evening at Krystel Banqueting.

"I would encourage anyone in the local communities who knows what the motivation for this attack was, or to anyone who may have seen an altercation late on Saturday evening at Krystel Banqueting, or the incident itself on Salisbury Road, to contact us and tell us what they know."

'It was like a bad day in Bosnia'

Scaffolder Louis O'Donoghoe was watching the snooker when he heard screaming and shouting outside his house in what he said sounded like a foreign language.

"It was just chaos, absolute chaos. It was like something out of a movie. Horrific," the 40-year-old, who is originally from Middlesbrough, said of the aftermath.

He saw the ambulance service working on one person, and then realised there were another two bodies, at which point he went outside to see what was going on.

Police on Salisbury road in Seven Kings, Ilford after a multiple stabbing Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

"I could see it all, one (body) to the left, two at the bottom of the stairs. It was like a bad day in Bosnia. It was pretty horrific really. I've never seen anything like it to be honest. It's like something on a movie."

He said his girlfriend was left "distraught" by what happened and he had come home from work early to be with her.

He had heard "fighting and arguing" in the street outside his house on previous occasions, he said, but was not sure of the reason for Sunday's stabbings.

Locals witness bloodied men in the street

The owner of Seven Kings Cars opposite the station said a man with blood on his hands had approached him on Sunday evening asking for help after three people had been badly injured.

Nadeem Rana said: "I was shocked. He had blood on his hands and he said there were people in very poor condition."

The man and a passenger who had been waiting for a taxi made off towards the scene to help, Mr Rana said.

He said he was shocked to hear the men had died.

"It's shocking, a feeling of insecurity to be honest," he said.

Local resident Lauren Marshall said she and other neighbours had gone out into Elmstead Road when they saw flashing police lights on Sunday night.

"By the time I came out, the road was blocked and there were police everywhere. It was manic. Everyone was coming out of their houses," the 26-year-old paralegal said.

"I've lived here my whole life and nothing like this has ever happened. It was a shock."

A police forensics tent was visible in Salisbury Road near what Ms Marshall said was the stairway to the railway station

Formal identification of the victims has yet to take place, and post-mortem examinations have also yet to be arranged.

Police near the scene in Seven Kings, Ilford Credit: PA

Singh Sabha Gurdwara expresses “displeasure” at link to Sikh community 

A statement issued by Singh Sabha Gurdwara East London offered condolences to the friends and families of the victims, but also expressed displeasure at the incident being used to “tarnish” the Sikh community. 

The statement read in part: “It is quite difficult for us to not express our displeasure at the religious affiliation being made with the Sikh community, when it is not yet clear whether this relates to either the cause of what took place, or how the incident itself unfolded...

“For the record, we are unaware of any animosity of this magnitude between individuals, groups or cliques in the Sikh community. There are, as in all communities, disagreements and differing opinions on everything from Brexit to personalities, but nothing that we are aware of that would have suggested violence on this scale might ensue.

“Consequently, media coverage of the incident has related the crime with that of ‘gangs’, drug-dealing and associated anti-social behaviour in the area, which has in turn been used to tarnish the Sikh community and stoke unnecessary incendiary commentary on social media – all at a time when three young men have lost their lives.”