Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 13:22 UK

Girl killed in tower block named

Matheson Lang House
The teenager's body was found in the lift by a resident in the block

A 15-year-old girl stabbed to death in a block of flats in south London has been named by detectives.

Arsema Dawit's body was found in a lift at Matheson Lang House, Bayliss Road, Waterloo, on Monday at 1545 BST.

The teenager, who turned 15 on Friday, is believed to have just returned home to the block of flats where she lived when she was attacked.

A man in his 30s was arrested nearby and is being questioned by detectives over the killing.

Paramedics arrived at the scene within four minutes but were unable to revive the teenager, a London Ambulance Service spokesman said.

She is believed to be the 16th teenager to have died violently in London since the start of the year.

Police are keeping an open mind about the motive for the killing, but they do not believe it was gang-related.

A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out.

Man 'harassed' teenager

A mother and her eight-year-old daughter found Arsema, who had suffered multiple stab wounds.

The father of the child, Wayne Fort, who lives in the block and a friend of Arsema, Simon Tesfaghiorgish, both said they believe the teenager was being stalked by an older man and the family was worried about it.

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Arsema Dawit's family at the flats where she was murdered

Mr Tesfaghiorgish said: "I didn't know him but he had been harassing her. The mother told the police a number of times.

"The police said they couldn't take any action. We are going to complain about this.

"He (the stalker) beat her and threatened to kill her," he said.

Mr Fort said: "There was a chap who seemed to be infatuated with her. I could see from the efforts of the elders of the family they were trying to get rid of the man."

Cathy Loxton, the principal of Arsema's school Harris Academy in Bermondsey, said Arsema was "popular and friendly".

"[She] had much to contribute to our school community," she said.

A spokeswoman said the news of Arsema's death was "very hard" for her schoolmates and many children were sent home as they became extremely upset.

Father Yohannes Sibhatu, the leader of the Eritrean community church, St Michael's Community Church in Camberwell, said: "I am really very shocked. As a person I knew her. It is very sad."

Arsena was a member of its mixed choir. He said special prayers will be said during Sunday's service.




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