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Father of stabbed 22-year-old says pain is ‘never ending’

The father of man who was stabbed to death has said the pain of losing his son is “never ending” as police launch a nationwide crackdown on knife crime.

Cliff Marcus’ son Leo was stabbed to death, aged 22, in a botched mugging attempt in 2019.

Mr Marcus, 57, from Woolwich, south-east London, said: “You spend 22 years raising somebody, and then all of a sudden that person is gone. There’s just a void left behind.

“When I heard Leo had died, my heart was broken. I had nothing left.

“I’ve got a picture of him over my fireplace where I often speak to him.”

Operation Sceptre
Cliff Marcus, whose son Leo was stabbed to death in 2019 (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

The married father-of-five added: “This one killer has affected 80 to 90 people in my family alone. The pain is never ending.”

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Mr Marcus’ comments coincide with Operation Sceptre, an annual week of “intensified activity” by police forces in England and Wales to tackle knife crime.

As part of the crackdown, he joined six uniformed and 12 plain-clothed Met Police officers on patrol in Croydon on Thursday.

They performed stop and searches and carried out a weapons sweep.

Local neighbourhood policing superintendent Mitch Carr said: “In Croydon we’ve had issues over many years with lots of young people getting involved in gangs.

“It’s been well over a year now since there was a knife-related murder in Croydon.

“Locally, there’s still a lot of concern among the public around people carrying weapons, and unfortunately, there have been stabbings.

“This week of action is to make sure that we’re really keeping the focus on it.”

Croydon was branded London’s knife crime capital in 2021 after recording five teenage murders – the most of any borough.

A total of 30 teenage murders were recorded across the capital in 2021.

Operation Sceptre
Knife crime campaigner Anthony King (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Data from the Mayor of London’s office for policing and crime shows that between 2019-21 Croydon suffered the highest volumes of teenage violence in the capital with 141 offences recorded.

Met Police data shows there were 11,969 knife crime offences recorded in Croydon in 2021. In the 12 months to November 2022, there were 6,843 knife crime offences recorded, down 22 per cent on the same period the year before.

Acting police sergeant Jack Fordham said west Croydon was quite a violent part of London, he added: “There are a lot of robberies and knife crime occurring.

“The purpose of this operation is showing the community and commuters who pass through Croydon that we are present in the area.”

Youth worker Anthony King, 40, who joined the operation on Thursday, said: “We are working with our Met Police colleagues to turn the tide and hopefully reduce fear amongst young people.”

Mr King is the chair of the My Ends project, a community group that brings together young people, local police and head teachers to address challenges facing the borough.

“Working with the police has gone a long way to building trust and confidence in the community and reducing serious violent crime,” he said.