The Nigerian parents of a teenager stabbed to death in London last year have spoken about the horror of losing their son to knife crime for which the city has become notorious.
Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17, died after a 15in jackal ‘zombie knife’ was plunged into his heart when he intervened in a scuffle after school outside his sixth-form college in Clapham, South London.
His 17-year-old killer was handed the weapon by Treynae Campbell, 19, who had built a terrifying armoury of knives bought from a website known as Knife Warehouse.
The website is owned by Joe Wheeler, who was given a police caution in 2015 for marketing his knives as ‘suitable for combat’ – yet is still allowed to trade, according to a report by dailymail.co.uk.
Malcolm’s father, Olumide Wole-Madariola blames Wheeler for his son’s death.
“If this site did not exist, then my son may still be alive today,” he said.
“When I found out that Treynae had bought 15 knives from one shop, I was stunned.
“I think the site should be closed down and the man responsible should face the consequences. He shares responsibility for my son’s murder. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.’
Malcolm died last November when he was stabbed outside Clapham South Underground station as pupils left the nearby sixth-form college St Francis Xavier.
An Old Bailey trial heard that he intervened when the killer tracked down another youngster a few days after they had exchanged ‘unfriendly eye contact’ and began threatening him.
The killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced next month and already has a conviction for knife possession.
Campbell was cleared of murder but admitted possessing a knife and was sentenced to 28 months at a Young Offenders Institute last month.
Malcolm’s father said the family left Nigeria because they thought England was safer.
“We went to the trial every day and the thing that really upset me was these boys showed no remorse, they were smirking,’ said Mr Wole-Madariola, a security consultant.
“At one point they said, ‘t was just a knife, no big deal.’ But it was. I had four children and now I have three.”
Fighting back tears, his wife, Olukemi, 44, a special needs teacher, recalls hearing that her son had been attacked. “I got a call from his school principal who told me Malcolm had been wounded. My heart was beating so fast and I was shaking so much that I dropped the phone.
“I just started walking and before I realised where I was, I found myself at our church. I started praying with the pastor for Malcolm and the police came to collect me and brought me to the hospital.
“Malcolm had never even been sick before. Three doctors came up to me and straight away I didn’t like the look on their faces. One told me to sit down and they said Malcolm had died.
“It felt like I had come out of my body – I wanted to faint. My other children arrived and asked, ‘Where is Malcolm?’ I told them he had died and they started crying. They wanted to see him, but I couldn’t go. They told me I should, so I went in and he looked like he was sleeping. I sang him a song and cried.”
Wole-Madariola, 52, was overseas in Washington, researching for his second degree. Olukemi rang and said he needed to return to Britain, but refused to tell him why.
When he arrived back at the family home in Dulwich, South London, he found his children sobbing and a police officer who broke the news that his church-going, football-loving boy was dead.
“It was the first time I’d ever seen my family in pain. We were normally a very happy and contented family,” he said.
“I felt like a failure. I am a security expert and I had failed at keeping my family safe. I’m obsessed with safety, it’s my job. We had a curfew for our children. At 7pm they would have to be home.
“We thought it would be safer for our children moving from Nigeria to England, but London is not as safe as when my father first moved here in the 1960s. It is not even as safe as when Malcolm was born here in 2001.”
Wole-Madariola and his wife are devout Christians who embrace tolerance but the loss of Malcolm has convinced them that, despite the racial tensions that it can exacerbate, “stop and search” is vital if police are to tackle the surge in knife crime.
The couple say they bear no grudge towards their son’s killer or the man who provided the murder weapon.
“My wife and I have chosen to forgive them. We pity them and I would meet with them to see if they can turn things around. No family should have to go through what we’ve suffered. We hope some positivity can come from this tragedy,” Wole-Madariola added.