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Broadwater Farm Estate Youth Worker, Stafford Scott
"The government needs to listen to these communities: and there is no real community voice"
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Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 23:19 GMT
A community in shock
Boarded up shops
Many buildings on the estate are derelict
By BBC News Online's Cindi John

The parade of shops on the North Peckham Estate is derelict and boarded up.

The community hall is heavily fortified and deserted.

It looks the picture of a deprived inner city estate, but some residents there say things are not as they seem.

Roland Hayes has lived on the North Peckham Estate for 14 years and believes it has improved.

Obviously there are a few bullies, but to stab a child with a broken bottle beggars belief

Riddian Jai Persaud
Peckham resident
"Some years ago when I first came here this was a real rough estate. But now all those activities have reduced dramatically so this death has really shocked me," he said.

Riddian Jai Persaud, whose daughter goes to a nursery on the estate, believes it is not viewed locally as a trouble spot.

He lives on the nearby Clifton estate which he says is a lot worse than the North Peckham.

Riddian Jai Persaud and children
Riddian Jai Persaud: "Estate has a good community spirit"
And he says he has never seen much evidence of a problem with children running wild on the estate.

"A few kids smoking or spraying graffiti, that's about the worse I've come across.

"Obviously there are a few bullies, but to stab a child with a broken bottle beggars belief," he said.

'No-go zone'

But Vicky Roffley, who works in the area, is not surprised by the killing.

She grew up nearby but says the area has deteriorated since her childhood.

"On the estate over there, you've got so many derelict properties, everything's empty.

"I've wandered round there a couple of times and it was just waiting to happen. There's not security, there's nothing there," she said.

More new low-rise accommodation is planned for the estate
Much of the estate is being demolished to make way for new low-rise accommodation.

Stephen Parnell, one of the team working on the demolition, says he would never consider living there.

He said: "You wouldn't want to come here of a night time, it's just a no-go area," he said.

"Crime is just rife around here, it's terrible."

'Terrorised by children'

On the nearby Peckham Road, the owner of a newsagent's expresses shock and sympathy for the dead boy's family.

But he says he is not surprised children are believed to be involved in the murder, as he says children regularly terrorise local shopkeepers.

"I've been targeted by kids stealing. They're only 14 or 15, you can't do anything," he said.

He says many children have knives and he fears violence if he confronts them.

"If you stop them you will be attacked, maybe one of them will stab you."

In a nearby park Sarah Crouch plays with her three-year-old son.

Sarah Crouch
Sarah Crouch: Concerned by level of violence
Like many people she is concerned that such a young boy has been killed and believes the situation will only get worse.

"In Peckham it's rough enough as it is, it's hard to say what it's going to be like really.

"Around here it's not too great, there's people getting stabbed, shot, it is a bit of a worry really."

But Althea Smith who chairs the local Police Community Consultative Group believes the area is no worse than many others though she admits it has "gone through a bad patch lately".

She is calling on relatives of those involved in Monday's attack to come forward.

"Anyone involved must have gone home with blood on them. Please don't shield them. Go to the police," she said.

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