Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Saturday, 23 May 2009 16:57 UK

Youth footballer fatally stabbed

Jahmal Mason-Blair
Jahmal Mason-Blair was pronounced dead at the scene

A teenager, said to be a promising young footballer, has been stabbed to death in east London.

The boy, named locally as Jahmal Mason-Blair and thought to be 17, was found by officers shortly before 0001 BST in Amhurst Road, Hackney.

Police said he suffered a puncture wound to the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Met said there had been no arrests but his death was being treated as murder.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out on Sunday.

The boy's family confirmed earlier that Jahmal was not a youth team player for Tottenham Hotspur football club following media reports.

However the promising footballer had been given a trial at Reading Football Club.

A club spokesman said: "He had a brief trial with us last year but it wasn't followed up by a contract."

The teenager's half-brother Shaun Mason, 30, said he was woken in the early hours of the morning and told something had happened.

"He was meant to be coming to stay with his cousin... but he never made it," he said.

Connie Drew, a friend of the victim: "He wasn't one for arguments"

"I got a phone call, but also some missed calls because I was asleep, and then my sister came and started banging down my door."

He said Jahmal's father had been taken to hospital to see his son but that he offered to identify his son for him.

He said their mother was flying back from her home in Florida after his sister, Maria, called to break the news to her.

Friends of the teenager said he dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and was rarely seen without a ball at his feet.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said she thought she heard a fight start in the street some time after midnight.

'Lots of shouting'

She said: "There were about 20 boys; it looked like there was a little one trying to have a fight with somebody else.

"I just heard lots of shouting, then they all split off into different directions. I don't know what happened next."

Local traders said police had cordoned off an area at the north of Amhurst Road, where it meets Dalston Lane and Pembury Road. One trader said that the whole junction was closed.

map of Amhurst Road in Hackney

Forensic teams and police officers remain at the scene.

Both the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and London's Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) attended the scene where the teenager was found injured, near the junction of Bodney Road.

A HEMS doctor pronounced him dead at the scene.

Amhurst Road is close to Hackney Downs and Hackney Central railway stations.

Large sections of Dalston Lane and Amhurst Road remain closed and trains are not stopping at nearby Hackney Downs railway station.

Det Ch Insp Phil Rickells said: "Amhurst Road is quite a busy road with shops and flats so there is a chance someone may have been driving past and saw what happened."

He said the police wanted to hear from anyone who may have seen a black teenager aged between 14 and 18 wearing dark clothing running away from the scene.

The victim is the ninth teenager to die in violent circumstances in London this year.

In 2008, 28 teenagers were killed in violent incidents in the capital.



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