A boy of 16 who was stabbed to death in the street was killed as part of a revenge attack by a gang of youths, police believe. As he walked home, Kennie Carter was followed and then pounced on by a group wearing hoods and Covid masks on Stretford’s Lakes estate at 7pm on Saturday, January 22.
He was stabbed in the chest and died later in hospital. As police released CCTV of a cyclist who they believe could be a key witness, the detective who is leading the investigation told the MEN how the fatal stabbing was the culmination of a series of tit-for-tat incidents between two rival groups.
So far police have arrested 14 youths on suspicion of murder, aged between 12 and 17. Ten of the young suspects remain on police bail.
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Detective Chief Inspector Alicia Smith, in an interview with the MEN, revealed there had been a number of ‘precursor incidents’ between two rival groups in the days before the fatal stabbing. The night before Kennie was killed, the two groups had been involved in a fight in Stretford, said the detective.
Some of his friends had been involved in the altercation with the rival group, although detectives do not believe Kennie was involved. The rival group is said to have returned to a block of flats in Stretford the next day, in the hours before the stabbing, to seek revenge on Kennie’s pals.
Believing the gang had left the block of flats, police say Kennie thought it was safe to leave and head home on his own. He was unaware the gang had not left the area and followed him as he made his way to the The Lakes estate.
The youths pounced on Kennie on Thirlmere Avenue. Police say the attack was brief and the victim had no opportunity to defend himself. Detectives stress Kennie had not wanted to be part of any trouble and just wanted to walk away and go home that night.
He suffered a fatal stab wound to the left side of his chest. He was found by passers-by who dialed 999. He died later in hospital.
Detectives have seized hundreds of hours of CCTV as part of their investigation. They released a short clip of a cyclist to the MEN Officers want to speak to the cyclist who they believe may have seen the rival group in the minutes before the fatal attack.
Appealing to the public for information, DCI Smith said: “It’s genuinely a really tragic incident. He’s a 16-year-old boy who is literally just walking home and then has been attacked and lost his life because of it. It’s very clear he was walking away. We know he didn’t want to be involved. He’s heading home.”
Kennie is one of four youths who have died because of knife crime in 2022.
DCI Smith said: “As a mum of young boys myself, it’s frightening to think about what they are carrying and how youths are these days. It’s quite frightening. We would appeal as police and as parents that parents get more information about when their children are going out.”
Police with the help of local authorities have launched Operation Swift to go into schools to tackle knife crime, she said.
Detectives are appealing to any witnesses or anyone who may have heard something about the incident, whether in schools or elsewhere, to come forward.
They believe the perpetrators will have discussed the attack among friends and they want people to get in touch no matter how irrelevant they believe their information may be. “It’s all going to help us piece together what happened that night,” said DCI Smith.
A week after the attack, Kennie’s family appealed for the community to come forward with information and said ‘young lives like Kennie’s are being lost far too often’.
They said: “Kennie was our youngest, our baby, our cheeky chappy with baby blue eyes. His death has left a massive hole in our lives and our family has been destroyed. We will never have the opportunity to see him growing up and having a family of his own.
“Each day when we wake the house feels empty; we can’t hear his footsteps, his voice or his music. We cannot believe how generous people have been, even people that don’t know us or Kennie directly. We want to ask the community to provide as much information as they can to the police so that the person responsible is brought to justice. Young lives like Kennie’s are being lost far too often and this has to stop.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the detectives investigating the case directly on 0161 856 9908 quoting incident 2529 of 01/22/2022. Details can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Any footage or images from the night can be submitted to GMP’s online portal here: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/06GMP22S43-PO1
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.