Lee stabbing victim Kevin Ssali's father wanted missing son home as birthday present (From News Shopper)
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Lee stabbing victim Kevin Ssali's father wanted missing son home as birthday present
THE FATHER of a missing schoolboy who was fatally stabbed at the weekend in Lee had wished for his son's safe return as a birthday present.
Kevin Ssali died on Saturday night after being attacked as he stepped off the 202 bus in Burnt Ash Road – close to the bakery where Jimmy Mizen was killed four years before.
The 14-year-old had been missing from his home for two months when the attack took place at around 9.45pm. He was rushed to hospital where he later died.
His father Sewa Ssali turned 54 the day before the stabbing and had wished for Kevin’s safe return as a birthday present.
Mr Ssali, who lives in Catford, said: "I was asking for my son to come back home for my birthday present – it wasn’t to be.
"It is absolutely devastating. We are going through all the emotions, we have all the questions and no answers.
"He was a very nice boy and everybody who came into contact with him said he was very humble and polite, very well brought up.
"He was an exceptionally bright boy at school. "He was quite a charming young man. He had lots of friends."
Kevin went missing from his South Norwood home on July 13 and his father says there had been a couple of sightings but no direct contact.
He said: "His going missing was completely out of character.
"We took it in our stride and [wanted] to get him back and find out what issues he had and get him back into education."
The pupil of Crown Woods College, Eltham, used to live along Lee High road and may have been visiting a friend on Saturday whose house was close to where he was killed.
He had four stepbrothers and sisters and dreamt of becoming a bank manager like his 33-year-old stepsister.
Like the Mizen family who have tirelessly worked for peace after their son was murdered, Mr Ssali has mercy for the perpetrators of the crime.
Mr Ssali said: "Within my heart, I have forgiven whoever has done it. I am not out to seek revenge, I don’t want it to cloud my heart.
"It is the failings of society that has put kids in a situation like this. A kid is probably safer in Afghanistan than London right now – it is not a good record to have.
"The message we want to send out is for young kids to be careful – we absolutely wouldn’t want this to happen to any other parent."
Barry Mizen, father of murdered schoolboy Jimmy Mizen, told News Shopper the family are more determined than ever to bring peace to communities after this latest death.
Mr Mizen said: "We were very shocked to hear the news. We would like to convey our sympathies to the family and friends of Kevin.
"People asked – has it put us off? – It’s made us more determined than ever to bring peace to communities.
"It happened a few hundred yards from where Jimmy died and just brought it all back. All the police tape is back, but we are absolutely more determined now.
"We need a calm response to this. Are we going to sit back and get angry or are we going to make things better."
Jimmy's mother Margaret Mizen gave a talk to schoolchildren of Ladywell Fields College today to urge peaceful behaviour and prevent more young deaths as part of the Release the Peace campaign.
Visit releasethepeace.com to learn more or tweet #releasethepeace to show your support.
Police appeal for witnesses
Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne from the Met’s homicide and serious crime command unit is appealing for witnesses to the incident.
He said: "There were a number of young people on the bus who witnessed this, some of them have already come forward and I need all of the remaining people to give me a call.
"I need to know what the series of events were which culminated in a 14-year-old boy losing his life."
Three teenagers were arrested in connection with the incident.
Two fifteen-year-olds have been bailed and a 17-year-old remains in custody.
Anyone who witnessed what happened is asked to call DCI Dunne on 020 8721 4906.
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