Thousands attend vigil in Willesden for murdered schoolboy Quamari Barnes
PUBLISHED: 20:32 29 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:39 30 January 2017
The father of a boy who was stabbed to death outside his school in Willesden has pleaded with the community to pray for the teenager charged with his murder.
Paul Barnes courageously addressed a crowd at a special event held in memory of his 15-year-old son Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes today.
Around 2,000 people attended the vigil outside Capital City Academy in Doyle Gardens, where Quamari was attacked on Monday afternoon.
Mr Barnes was joined on a stage at the vigil with a member of the public who cradled his son in her arms after she found him wounded in the street.
Thanking everyone for the support they have shown to his family, he added: “I know you are all praying for my son but I need you to pray for the boy too.
“Don’t hold malice towards the boy who did this.”
During the 90-minute event other speakers took to the stage including young people who knew Quamari and paid tribute to the ‘popular boy who had a love of reggae music especially Bob Marley’.
A statement from Quamari’s mother Lillian Serunkuma
“Thank you all for the kind words and love you are sharing for my son.
“Even the press. I want you all to keep doing it because it is giving me strength, knowing that he has touched everyone.
“Thank you for your donations. It is important that you know it will not be used for his funeral it will be used to honour his life and keep his legacy alive. By starting something he would want in his name.
“Keep spreading love. No more violence please.”
To make a donation to a memorial fund set up in Quamari’s name click here.
Attendees at the ‘stand together’ event included Patsy Hopwood, whose son Kavian was murdered in Stonebridge in 2003, Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central and Cllr Zaffar Van Kawala, Labour councillor for the Stonebridge ward.
Cllr Van Kawala said: “I’ve never seen Brent so united.
“We came together, we stood together and together we will do all we can to stop out community from losing another innocent young person.”
Stefan Brown from charity Stop Our Kids Being Killed On Our Streets, said to the crowd: “We’ve had enough of talking it’s time to take action and it begins within our community.
“Enough is enough.”
‘Stand Together’ was organised by Harlesden resident Verena Dempster who wanted to bring the community together as a tribute to Quamari.
She told the Times: “This was a gathering of people coming together to give support to each other in these very difficult times by talking to each other, hugging each other and getting to know each other.
“If we can come together in peace then we can start to make a difference for our children and the community.”
A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with the murder of Quamari Barnes.
He appeared at Willesden Youth Court last week and has been remanded in custody.