A London teenager stabbed to death with a 12-inch “zombie knife” may not have been murdered had tougher laws been in place at the time of the 2018 attack, his father has claimed. Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17, was trying to break up a fight five years ago when he was stabbed through the heart by the grotesque weapons, which can be bought online for roughly £20.
Olumide Wole-Madariola said Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s promise to make such weapons illegal was “better late than never”.
However, he told the Mirror: “How I wish this had been effective earlier, Malcolm would most likely be still alive.”
Home Office plans unveiled this week would enable police to seize zombie knives and machetes, with anyone buying or selling them facing up to two years in prison.
With several teenagers killed by knives in the capital already this month, Mr Wole-Madariola, 54, was horrified so little appeared to have changed since his son’s death.
He added: “I am only hoping whatever ban will also stipulate the appropriate punitive measure so that culprits like my son’s killer, who was once arrested with a zombie knife, will not have the guts to go for another.”
The ban needed to cover all zombie knives, be they in warehouses, on shelves, and those sold by online retailers and in the possession of criminals, he stressed.
The family, from Dulwich, who are preparing to mark what would have been Malcolm’s 22nd birthday on May 1, have launched a foundation in his name in a bid to stop young people from using knives.
A statement issued by the Home Office on Tuesday indicated that some blades which are “designed to look menacing” and “with the intention to threaten”, which are not currently prohibited, would be outlawed in accordance with the measures.
Police would get expanded powers to seize and destroy the weapons while criminals would face tougher sentences for their sale and possession, according to a seven-week consultation on the proposals.
Some machetes and similar knives do have “legitimate uses”, such as in gardening – but crooks are “buying, selling and using larger bladed articles as weapons to intimidate and cause others serious harm”, the Home Office added.
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Ms Braverman said: “The thugs wielding these deadly knives aim to terrorise their victims and the public, and too often even carry out horrific or fatal attacks.
“They are emboldened by the cowardly idea that carrying these blades inflates their own status and respect.
“This can’t go on. These plans seek to give the police greater powers to seize and destroy these weapons and impose harsher penalties on the criminals selling them, keeping them off our streets and making communities safer.”
Earlier this month, a judge told jurors to write to their MPs to highlight the “shocking” availability of dangerous weapons online after a young man was convicted of killing another 18-year-old with a 22-inch long zombie knife.
Emadh Miah, 18, faces life in prison when he is sentenced next week after being found guilty of murdering Ghulam Sadiq, who he ambushed and stabbed near his home in Leytonstone, east London, in August last year.
Judge Christine Laing KC said: “I advise you to write to your MPs and ask why it is that weapons like the one you saw, in this case, can be bought from a website legitimately.
“These weapons are there for anybody to purchase and it is beyond me as to why that is.”
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Linda Bradley commented: “I cannot help but reflect that large knives and machetes being sold online is open to abuse and lamentably continues to be a risk to the public.”
Merseyside Police is one of four forces to trial the introduction of the Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs), alongside Thames Valley, West Midlands and Sussex, and began trialling the scheme this week.
Such orders will help to tackle those identified as prolific, high-risk offenders, by making it easier for police to search them for weapons.
Speaking earlier this month, Superintendent Phil Mullally, Merseyside’s Lead for Serious Violence and Knife Crime said: “We welcome the opportunity to trial these new powers and keep the pressure on those who are involved in the most serious violent crime and ultimately, keep our communities safe.
“Both serious violence and knife crime are falling in Merseyside, but we know there is still work to do. These new powers will enable us to continue to drive down knife crime and reoffending.”