Champion MMA fighter Jahreau Shepherd stabbed to death on his 30th birthday on the weekend of bloodshed in London.
AN MMA fighter stabbed to death at his 30th birthday party was one of three men killed in a weekend of bloodshed in London.
Welterweight champion Jahreau Shepherd, nicknamed The Nightmare, was found with stab injuries on the Black Prince Estate in Kennington just after 10pm on Saturday.
Officers and paramedics tried to stop him bleeding to death but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr. Shepherd was with family and friends at a barbecue on the lawn of the estate when he was attacked. His mother had left celebrations before the killing.
Mr. Shepherd’s cousin Tanisha Shepherd, 27, told the Standard: “I was at the barbecue early in the evening but have two small children so had to go.
Tributes left at the scene in Kennington, south London
“Everything was fine when I left. Jahreau’s mother is not in a good place at the moment, she is devastated.”
She added: “Jahreau was amazing. He helped everyone, he would do anything for anyone. He lived and breathed fighting. He was so looking forward to the gym opening again after the lockdown and was lining up a fight.
“He had everything to live for. He helped keep the young people on the straight and narrow and was a role model.”
Mr. Shepherd had a 6-2 win record in professional Mixed Martial Arts, five by knockout.
A spokesman for his promoters said on Instagram: “Jay, our welterweight champion, was hugely talented and great fun to be around, a big personality with a huge smile and infectious laugh.
“Inside the cage, he was destined for the top - a champion in three different organizations with heavy hands and a warrior heart.”
Jeremy Petley, MMA coach at the London Fight Factory where Mr. Shepherd trained, added: “Jay was a great friend, fighter, training partner, coach and team member, and his sense of humor, positive presence and wonderfully loud laugh will be very much missed.”
A makeshift shrine of flowers and tributes has been left overnight at the scene, spelling out the word “Nightmare” with candles. A photo showed him proudly holding his championship belts and a T-shirt bearing his name.
A message on a bouquet read: “RIP Jahreau I can’t believe this has happened to you and on your 30 birthday celebrations. Thinking of your family.”
A friend at the scene said: “His mother is devastated and had left the party because she was feeling a bit unwell. They are a lovely family. He has two younger brothers. The party had been very friendly, he was happy it was his birthday celebration. I had seen him prepping the barbecue he was in great spirits.”
An eyewitness said: “The mother came back to the scene as paramedics were trying to save him. She was shouting 'Please keep going please save my baby'. She was screaming and wailing it was horrible to watch. They worked on him for ages.”
Scotland Yard has launched a murder investigation and said a post-mortem will be held in due course.
Shortly after Mr. Shepherd’s death, a 26-year-old man presented himself at hospital suffering stab injuries believed to have been sustained at the party. He is expected to recover. There have been no arrests.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, from the Met’s Specialist Crime, said: “A man has lost his life and a family has been left suffering unimaginable grief because of the callous use of a knife to inflict fatal injuries.
“I will do all I can to get justice for this family, and, along with colleagues from my homicide teams, I will use every available tactic to find whoever is responsible for this terrible attack.”
In two separate killings, a man in his 30s was shot dead in Croydon Road, Penge at around 2.20am on Sunday. Inquiries are underway to confirm his identity and inform next of kin.
A murder investigation is also underway after a 19-year-old was stabbed to death close to Crossharbour DLR station. He was one of two young males injured at Alexia Square in Poplar at 6pm on Friday.