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Chief Bakes

BBC: Murder victim's family leave UK and say London 'too dangerous'

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Chief Bakes

Murder victim's family leave UK and say London 'too dangerous'

  • 7 November 2018
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Beniamin Pieknyi
Image caption Beniamin Pieknyi died from blood loss after being stabbed in the chest

The family of a Romanian man stabbed to death weeks after moving to England have said they see London as a dangerous place where "terrible things can happen in the blink of an eye".

Beniamin Pieknyi, 21, was walking through a shopping centre when he was chased and stabbed in March.

His brother and sister lived with him but have since returned to Romania.

On Monday, Mayor Sadiq Khan warned it could take a generation to turn the tide of violent crime in the capital.

Five men are due to be sentenced for their roles in Mr Pieknyi's death later, including Vladyslav Yakymchuk, 23, who pleaded guilty to murder.

It comes at a time when five people have been stabbed to death in London in less than a week.

Image caption Beniamin Pieknyi (right) had been living in Milton Keynes with his brother Mihael and sister Iulia

Beniamin Pieknyi had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Born and raised in Lupeni, Romania, he moved to Milton Keynes at the start of this year to live with his brother Mihael and sister Iulia as he wanted to settle and work in Britain.

Yet the family have now returned to Romania amid fear and distress over what happened to him.

"I've come to realise that terrible things can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person you could end up dead," Iulia Pieknyi said.

The 21-year-old worked at a takeaway with his brother. On 20 March, he worked a half day so he could travel to Stratford, in the east London borough of Newham, to meet up with his friend Alexander Suciu.

His brother Mihael Pieknyi worked until midnight that day. After his shift he and a friend bought a box of beer to share with his brother when he got back from London.

However, he never heard from him.

"I thought this was odd. I waited all night and heard nothing until I got a call from his friend's sister," Mr Pieknyi said.

"She was crying and told me Beniamin 'was no more'."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Vladyslav Yakymchuk was arrested in Harrods and pleaded guilty to murder

His brother had become the latest victim in a series of separate violent deaths across London in early 2018.

CCTV from the Stratford Centre before the attack showed Yakymchuk - along with Alexis Varela, 19, Moses Kasule, 20, Kevin Duarte, 19, and 18-year-old Mario Zvavamwe - hassling other members of the public.

The Met Police said the group had a history of hanging around the shopping centre, which is less than a mile from several of the main venues of the London 2012 Olympics, and were known to cause trouble and "harass innocent people".

On the day Beniamin Pieknyi was killed, the group could be heard shouting and goading "this is our area".

An argument ensued after Duarte hit Alexander Suciu on the head. The row escalated into a fight, with Kasule kicking Mr Pieknyi to the ground.

Yakymchuk took Mr Suciu's glasses, while Kasule threw punches at him. The brawl was broken up by a security guard who attempted to escort the pair away.

Yards away from the shopping centre's exit, Mr Pieknyi was cornered and stabbed by Yakymchuk in the chest.


The defendants:

  • Vladyslav Yakymchuk, 23, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to murder
  • Kevin Duarte, 19, of no fixed address, convicted of manslaughter
  • Moses Kasule, 20, of Stratford, convicted of manslaughter
  • Mario Zvavamwe, 18, of Romford, acquitted of murder, but found guilty of violent disorder
  • Alexis Varela, 19, of Dagenham, acquitted of murder, but found guilty of violent disorder

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Beniamin Pieknyi died at the scene of the attack at the Stratford Centre on 20 March

The 21-year-old's body was flown back to Romania, where his funeral was held on 27 May.

"It took a while to accept the truth and when I did, my entire life crumbled around me," Iulia Pieknyi said.

"I had no drive anymore - my work, my house were not important anymore."

In a victim impact statement, Mr Pieknyi's aunt Cristina Pieknyi described her nephew as a "very quiet boy, hardworking and someone who liked to help people".

She has been representing the family at the Old Bailey because the rest of the family could not afford to attend.

"They have spent all of their savings on the repatriation and funeral costs," she said.

Mihael Pieknyi and his family are still coming to terms with his brother's murder.

"We are in shock. My mother doesn't sleep and my sister, Iulia, does not want to come back and live in this country," Mr Pieknyi said.

"To us as a family, London is seen as a dangerous place because of what happened to my brother."

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ParochialYokal

The Stratford Centre needs to have a quantity of explosives stuck under it and blown up.

 

Due to whatever fluff up someone made, it is a fully enclosed shopping centre that is also a public right of way. As such, it must be open 24/7 and people cannot be thrown out by security.

 

I believe that this only became public knowledge when skateboarders started using the space during early evenings and some clever sod challenged security when being moved on.

 

The outcome now is that circa 80 people sleep there per night. I have so much sympathy for homeless people within the context of today’s austerity. Homeless really can no longer be described as a choice.

 

But what happens when 80 odd homeless people sleep there at night (sometimes up to 100) but they have no where to go for the rest of the day? Most keep themselves to themselves, but a minority’s commit crime. That then attracts drug dealers, miscreants and hustlers.

 

They are trying to gentrify ‘Stratford Island’ (an area surrounded by a gyration) but it will always remain a poop-hole unless they can remove public right of way status that applies to the privately owned Stratford Centre.

 

Sorry to bore you with local history but this young man would not be dead right now if this shopping centre was not classified as a public right of way where people can act with impunity.!

 

 

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PC Wannabe

So another life wasted because of a random attack by some trouble making miss-fits? I concede there's always been violence, randomly or otherwise, but people nowadays seem perfectly prepared to inflict fatal violence on strangers for little to no reason whatsoever. Its pretty much becoming acceptable.

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