Page last updated at 20:36 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 21:36 UK

Murdered boy 'turned down fight'

Jimmy's father: "He had an innate decency"

A murdered boy, described as a "gentle giant" by his parents, had tried to avoid a fight minutes before he was killed at a baker's shop.

Police say Jimmy Mizen's attacker had ordered him to fight outside the shop in Lee, south-east London, on Saturday, but the 16 year old refused.

The youth then smashed glass in the store and delivered a fatal blow to Jimmy's throat, police said.

Jimmy's mother said her son died while being cradled by his brother.

His parents told the BBC Jimmy, who had turned 16 the day before his death, was a "wonderful" boy.

Margaret and Barry Mizen said the night before Jimmy was attacked "the last thing we did was we all cuddled".

Jimmy Mizen
A Mass was held in honour of Jimmy Mizen

Jimmy was one of nine children and lived in Lee.

Det Ch Insp Cliff Lyons said the attack happened at the Three Cooks Bakery, in Burnt Ash Hill.

He said Jimmy had encountered his attacker after going into the shop with an older brother having bought his first lottery ticket.

Mr Lyons said: "The youth, intent on violence, offered him [Jimmy] outside for a fight.

"Jimmy, being the type of man he is, declined that fight, and the aggressor was left outside the bakery.

"Not content with matters ending there, the youth then proceeded to smash down the door of the bakery, shattering the glass.

"He also picked up an advertising board and took it inside the bakery and wielded it around. A fight ensued and Jimmy received a fatal blow to his neck, cutting his throat with some glass.

They [parents of son's killer] haven't got wonderful memories for their son. All they can think about is the evil he's done. My prayers are with the family, that's all I can say
Margaret Mizen

"Jimmy was a person of immaculate character, as was everyone from the Mizen family, and he is a victim of an entirely unprovoked and vicious attack."

Mr Lyons said a number of premises had been searched in the hunt for the murderer but no-one had been arrested.

Detectives later said a "significant witness" had now come forward and would be interviewed.

They had wanted to trace a middle-aged white man who they said had witnessed a significant amount of the attack.

Altar boy

Earlier on Sunday, family and friends observed an emotional two-minute silence outside Our Lady of Lourdes church, where Jimmy had been an altar boy.

They also laid flowers and read out messages of condolence near the spot where Jimmy was killed.

Mrs Mizen said she first heard about the attack from a neighbour.

She said: "She rang me and said: 'Jimmy's been attacked - quick you need to get round there.'

"I didn't expect to see what I saw and I thank God that my other two sons were there and Jimmy died in one of them's arms. And that's our comfort. What amazing children.

"Jimmy was just the sweetest boy you could ever meet.

"Just a fine young man. Happy all the time. Whistled as he walked down the road.

"There was a simplicity in Jimmy. He did not have airs and graces."

She said she had no anger for his killer. She said: "I feel for the parents of this boy.

Lyle Tulloch
In the last few days we have seen the deaths of Lyle Tulloch and Jimmy Mizen and I'm sure their parents will be in our prayers
Boris Johnson
London mayor

"I don't know why, I can't get them out of my mind because what's happened to Jimmy is the worst thing possible, but we've got such wonderful memories.

"They haven't got wonderful memories for their son. All they can think about is the evil he's done. My prayers are with the family, that's all I can say. I can't, I don't feel anger."

Jimmy had six brothers, Danny, 30, Billy, 28, Tommy, 26, Bobby, 24, Harry, 18 and George, eight, and two sisters, Joanne, 35, and 21-year-old Samantha.

Mr Mizen, 56, said: "He loved his family, his family loved him. Jimmy was able to express that love as well.

"You could give Jimmy a hug, no problem at all. Jimmy would give me a kiss when I dropped him off at school. You don't see many teenagers do that."

"An innate decency ran through Jimmy's body. He was a decent, fine young fella, protective of other people, protective of maybe the weak."

Jimmy is the 13th teenager to have been fatally attacked in London since the start of the year.

On Sunday, London's new mayor, Boris Johnson, joined thousands of Christians praying for an end to violence in the wake of Jimmy's death and that of Lyle Tulloch, in Borough, south London, a week ago.

Speaking at the Global Day of Prayer, held at Millwall Football Club, Mr Johnson said: "In the last few days we have seen the deaths of Lyle Tulloch and Jimmy Mizen and I'm sure their parents will be in our prayers."

He also said: "There are too many parents across London today who have lost their young children or young teenagers in the last year to gun crime and knife crime... together we can do something and together we must do something and together we will do something."

London map
(1) 1 January: Henry Bolombi, 17, stabbed, Edmonton, north London
(2) 5 January: Faridon Alizada, 18, stabbed, Erith, south-east London
(3) 21 January: Boduka Mudianga, 18, stabbed, Edmonton, north London
(4) 26 January: Fuad Buraleh, 19, beaten, West Ealing
(5) 19 February: Sunday Essiet, 15, stabbed, Woolwich, south-east London
(6) 23 February: Tung Le, 17, stabbed, Westminster, central London
(7) 29 February: Ofiyke Nmezu, 16, beaten, Enfield, north London
(8) 13 March: Michael Alexander Jones, 18, stabbed, Edmonton, north London
(9) 14 March: Nicholas Clarke, 19, shot, Brixton, south London
(10) 27 March: Devoe Roach, 17, stabbed, Stoke Newington, north London
(11) 27 March: Amro Elbadawi, 14, stabbed, Queen's Park, west London
(12) 3 May: Lyle Tulloch, 15, stabbed, Borough, south London
(13) 10 May: Jimmy Mizen, 16, Lee, south-east London

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