A 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered on a street in London on Tuesday was of Jamaican parentage, and there are conflicting theories about the motive behind his killing.
According to newspapers in the United Kingdom, Jayden Moodie was knocked off his bike by a speeding, black Mercedes Benz from which three men alighted and stabbed him at least seven times in the back. He was pronounced dead at the crime scene.
The police described the incident as a “targeted attack”.
While the UK media is reporting that the teenager’s murder was believed to have been linked to an ongoing drug war between rival gangs, his devastated family is disputing those claims, focusing instead on the fact that he only recently moved to London from Nottingham.
Young Jayden had reportedly dreamt of running his own fashion design company, and was also a talented boxer, according to the UK media.
His cousin, Leon Green, who spoke on Thursday from where Jayden was killed, said the streets of London are no longer safe for anyone. He described Jayden as a “loving, caring, bright young lad who had so many hopes and dreams”.
He said: “His character was infections and anyone who met him fell in love with his charm. He had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone, especially his family. He will be sincerely missed.”
But he said the youngster’s life had been “viciously taken from him”, and urged the public to help the police find those who had “murdered him in cold blood”.
Green went on to state that: “He deserved a chance at justice as much as anyone else in this situation. If there are people in our streets who are capable of killing a 14-year-old child, then no one is safe and they need to be caught and put to justice. No one deserved to die in that horrific way.”
Police were continuing to hunt those responsible for the crime which has shocked even some of Scotland Yard’s most experienced officers, according to the media.
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker admitted that he had been unable to sleep thinking about the sheer brutality of the crime.
Jayden’s social media posts portrayed a teenager with the typical ambitions of fame and fortune.
In one video posted online, he was seen talking about his desire to pursue a career in fashion.
He said: “Hi, my name’s Jayden. When I’m older I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to bring up my own clothing line called YP. It stands for Young Productions, and it’s trying to help people become young entrepreneurs and boost them.”
His family said he had also recently secured a place at a boxing academy and hoped to replicate the success of his hero, Anthony Joshua, whom he met two years ago.
Marcellus Baz, a youth worker who runs Nottingham’s Switch Up project, met Jayden seven months ago just before the teenager’s move to London. He said Jayden had told him that he wanted to start a new life in the capital.
“He had a focus about him which made me think he was going to be alright. What happened to him is absolutely heartbreaking,” said Baz.
But along with the usual teen passions, Jayden’s social media feed also hinted at a growing interest in darker pursuits.
Scattered among the photographs of him in school uniform and playing computer games, were images betraying his growing obsession with gang culture.
In one picture posted online, he appeared to be posing with a handgun, while in another, he clutched a fist full of bank notes.
On his Facebook page he described himself as a “trapper kid”, which is slang for a drug dealer.
His own father, Julian, 51, was jailed in 2009 after being caught selling crack cocaine and heroin to an undercover police officer.
Julian Moodie was one of four men caught in a sting operation called Operation Stapler in Basildon, Essex.
He was jailed for three and a half years after telling the court that he had been dealing Class A drugs in order to help feed his six children.
In sentencing him at Basildon Crown Court, Judge Alice Robinson told Moodie: “You were not dealing to fund your habit, you were dealing to earn a living.
“Dealing in drugs is a totally unacceptable way to do so. Other families manage to live on benefits.”
Shortly after getting out of prison, Julian Moodie moved to Kingston, Jamaica, and is now believed to be living in Buff Bay, Portland.
Witnesses described how a black Mercedes Benz motorcar suddenly drove into Jayden, throwing him from the bike.
Three men then got out of the car and began kicking and punching him before stabbing him several times in the back and then driving off.
After finding the suspects’ car abandoned a short distance away, the police are continuing to search for those responsible for the brutal killing.
The area of Waltham Forest where the car was abandoned, has been plagued by gang violence, with the Beaumont Crew and Oliver Close gangs being engaged in a turf war over lucrative drug operations.
Locals in the area suggested that tensions between the two gangs had been running high in recent weeks, but Jayden’s family insisted that he had not been linked in any way to the gangs.