A community is reeling after a nine-year-old died of suspected stab wounds in Lincolnshire.
Two people were arrested on Friday over the death of Lilia Valutyte, after a “profoundly shocking” attack in Boston town centre on Thursday evening.
Her family is being supported by specialist officers, Lincolnshire Police said, adding that their “thoughts are with them at this incredibly difficult time”.
Local residents spoke of their shock and fear at a suspected murder happening so close to home.
Another, posting on Facebook, commented: “How many more of our children have to die before serious intervention takes place in this town?”
The attack, involving one of the youngest knife crime victims in British history, has raised questions about the growing issue of stabbings impacting young people in the UK.
Ava White, 12, was killed at a Christmas lights switch-on
The 12-year-old schoolgirl from Liverpool was fatally stabbed in the neck by a 15-year-old boy in an attack that caused “shock and revulsion” in the city.
Ava was out in the city with friends following a Christmas lights switch-on event on a Thursday evening last November. A court heard Ava was “messing around” with her friends when a group of boys began filming them.
She approached the group telling them to stop and delete the footage before the 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, “thrust a knife” into the 12-year-old’s neck.
The boy was sentenced this month to a life sentence with a minimum of 13 years.
After he was sentenced, Leanne White, Ava’s mother, said: “The moment Ava died is now yesterday, tomorrow and forever. It is the past, the present and the future.
“It is not just one horrific moment in time that happened last whenever. It is not just the moment, the hour or second.”
Xing Duan Yuan, 5, found dead with his mother
Five-year-old Xing, was found with fatal stab wounds alongside his mother Yi Chen in Barnet, north London, in June this year.
The local community was shocked by the death in the leafy suburb, with one neighbour saying: “They seemed like a perfect family.
“We saw the mum taking her two boys to the local school every day. She was always smiley and we just cannot believe what had happened.”
Another resident added: “They are such low-key people in that house you wouldn’t know they were there. They are extremely private – the kids have been at local schools. We are devastated that this has happened in our community.”
A man was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in connection to the two deaths but was later released with no further action as officers said a post mortem examination provided important new information as to the nature of Ms Chen’s injuries, adding that nobody else was being sought in connection with the two deaths.
Damilola Taylor, 10, killed on way home from library
The death of 10-year-old schoolboy Damilola Taylor sent shockwaves through Britain after the Nigerian national was attacked on his way home from a south London library and died on the way to hospital from a stab wound.
Damiloa moved to England with his mother and sister in summer of the year 2000 to get treatment for his sister Gbemi, who had severe epilepsy. They lived in Peckham, south London.
He wanted to pursue a career in medicine to help people like his sister get better, and had been a big football fan.
It took several years and multiple trials for the people responsible for Damilola’s death to be convicted. Eventually, two brothers named Danny and Ricky Preddie were convicted of manslaughter.
In 2006, the brothers, who had been 12 and 13 at the time of the attack, were sentenced to eight years in youth custody.
Fares Maatou, 14, killed after coming to UK for better life
14-year-old Fares was stabbed to death with a sword hidden in a walking stick.
He was unarmed when he was stabbed after a fight involving a larger group in Barking Road, Canning Town, east London, in April last year. Fares was described as the “light of his mother’s eyes”.
Sentencing the teenage boys convicted of Fares’ murder, the judge said: “Fares’s parents came to this country from Algeria to escape the violence that they had experienced there, only for them to lose their son on the streets of London where he had hoped he and his family would be safe.”
Amel Maatou, Fares’ mother, said her son was a happy-go-lucky child who loved cars and could have become a mechanic or an engineer.
“Everyone liked Fares, he liked everyone in return,” Ms Maatou said. “Fares was never in trouble with the police and was not involved in gangs or crime. He had high hopes for his future.
“My family and I seek no vengeance. We seek justice and understanding for the death of Fares and hope the people who murdered him are held to account for their actions.”
Roberts Buncis, 12, stabbed more than 70 times
Roberts Buncis, 12, was killed in 2020 after being stabbed more than 70 times in woodland near Boston, Lincolnshire.
The attack happened off Alcorn Green in Fishtoft – and came just two days before the victim’s 13th birthday.
Roberts had suffered fatal blows to his neck, chest and abdomen, during a “brutal and prolonged attack”, it was previously reported.
Roberts was originally from Latvia and was being raised by his single father Edgars Buncis, who brought him to the UK to give him a better life.
A victim impact statement written by the grieving dad was read to Lincoln Crown Court during the sentencing hearing. He wrote: “How do I put into words how I feel? This is all wrong. No father should ever have to bury his son.”