St Albans parents urged to warn youths about carrying knives after two stabbings in district

Verulamium Park

Verulamium Park - Credit: Archant

Parents are being urged to warn their children about the life-changing consequences of carrying knives following two stabbings in the district within a matter of weeks.

Verulamium Park in the sun

Verulamium Park in the sun - Credit: Archant

In the latest attack, police were called to Verulamium Park in St Albans shortly before 7pm last Friday, after a teenage boy was injured and left with a wound in his abdomen.

The incident occurred close to the children’s playground and outdoor gym.

A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with both GBH and assault by beating, and was remanded to appear before magistrates’ court yesterday.

Another boy aged 16 was also arrested in connection with the incident and has been released on bail while enquiries continue.

A third boy, also 16, is also on police bail.

The victim was taken to hospital and remains in a stable condition.

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Just over two weeks earlier, on May 31, a boy in his late teens was taken to hospital with stab wounds after police at about 2.30am in Redbourn’s Snatchup.

Four people were arrested in connection with the attack: a 52-year-old woman, a 56-year-old man and a 14 year-old-boy have been released on police bail, while a 28 year-old-man has been released with no further action.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with grievous bodily harm.

St Albans Ch Insp Stuart Cheek said: “I know that these two incidents of violence will have caused considerable concern among local communities.

“I’d like to reassure you that incidents of this nature are very unusual in the area and, in both of these cases, suspects have been identified and quickly arrested by my officers.

“These incidents are not being linked and the circumstances surrounding them are very different.

“However, I think now is the opportune moment for parents to speak to their teenage children about the potentially devastating and life changing consequences that carrying knives or any weapon can have. I would urge all parents to please take the time to speak to their children about this issue.

“Although incidents of this nature are unusual for the St Albans area we are continuing to target those who carry weapons and those found in possession of items illegally will be dealt with robustly.”

Jessica Chivers, a district councillor for Verulam ward, which encompasses Verulamium, said: “It would be great to have a police presence [in the park] but I don’t think anyone would expect this to happen.

“It’s important to say that lots and lots of young people use the park in the evening to socialise and it is peaceful and harmonious and for the most part there is a lovely community of young people in St Albans.

“I am stunned this has happened, it is absolutely awful and is out of character.”

Cllr Edgar Hill, also representing Verulam, said it was “alarming to hear the widely reported increased incidents of knife crime had reached St Albans”.

Council leader Alec Campbell refused to comment on the incidents.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the St Albans Local Crime Unit on the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference 41/8052/18.