Father of murdered Barking teenager Hasan Ozcan calls for end to violence
PUBLISHED: 11:02 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:24 09 February 2018
The family of murdered teenager Hasan Ozcan called for unity among the community on the Gascoigne Estate last night at a meeting between residents, police officers and councillors.
The 19-year-old was attacked in Abbey Road, next to the Gascoigne Estate, just after 10pm on Saturday night.
Abdullah Ozcan, Hasan’s father, said: “We have to be like brothers - black, white, Asian, Turkish.
“I don’t want anyone to have to stand here like me.
“I don’t want anyone else’s kids getting hurt.”
The grieving father also criticised councillors for not making contact with his family to see how they are coping.
Abdullah is a long-standing member of the community, having moved to Barking in 1996. Hasan lived on the estate all his short life.
The meeting was attended by hundreds of residents from the estate who criticised the efforts of the police and the council to keep them safe.
Earlier this week a 19-year-old man was shot in the neck on the estate and just over a month ago a 17-year-old was stabbed repeatedly in Perryman House.
In March last year 18-year-old David Adegbite was shot dead on the estate.
“I have been living on this estate for 19 years and I have never seen anything like this, it’s like a war zone,” said one resident.
One attendee said the ward councillors should resign over their failure to look after the estate to rapturous applause from the crowd.
Concerns about CCTV, lighting and the number of police patrols were echoed by many attendees.
Another resident claimed that when he had previously tried to report a crime to the police they said they couldn’t gather sufficient evidence to prosecute anyone because none of the cameras were working.
Councillor Dominic Twomey, deputy council leader and the only ward councillor on the panel, said that if this was the case it was “a mistake” and whilst the council does not have a “magic pot of money” it would get the problem sorted.
Lighting came up several times in the meeting, with many residents saying the darkness of the pavements made them feel vulnerable.
“I am always looking over my shoulder when I walk anywhere,” said a mother who lived on the estate.
One attendee, who had connections to the estate but lived in Newham, said the estate is visibly worse lit than residential areas in her borough.
The council have said the lights on the estate are due for upgrade, but did not give a time frame.
Another concern was the lack of activities and opportunities for the estate’s young people.
“I feel like I had a lack of opportunities and I know that could have led me,” said lifelong Gascoigne resident John.
An elderly resident said that over the years he had seen community events and spaces cut back.
There used to be social activities like bingo in the hall where the community hall where the meeting was held and there used to be space for children to play football - but this has all disappeared, he said.