Southsea Common stabbing: 'you don't expect it here,' say residents and visitors shocked by attack on 15-year-old boy

SHOCK and anger has hit residents and visitors in Southsea Common after a violent knife attack on a 15-year-old boy has cast a shadow over the area’s sunny seaside charm.

By Richard Lemmer
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 1:33 pm

Two air ambulances and dozens of police officers were called to the Naval Memorial yesterday at 9pm, after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed in the chest.

A 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man from Southsea have both been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remain in police custody at this time.

With the memorial cordoned off and a more than a dozen officers remaining in the area, residents and visitors have been shocked that such a distressing crime could take place in what is still seen as a safe and care-free part of the city.

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A 15-year-old boy has been stabbed in the chest at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

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Two Southsea teenagers arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after boy, 15, ...

Portsmouth isn’t perceived as a city facing a problem with violent knife crime, according to friends Tracey Colbert-Smith and Rebecca Chaplin, who have come from Cheltenham to celebrate Tracey’s daughter graduating from the University of Portsmouth on Monday.

Tracey said: ‘You don’t really think of Portsmouth like this. When my daughter was choosing a university, we looked at some big city universities and thought, “let’s look at a nice seaside location”.

‘It was one of the reasons we choose Portsmouth. You don’t expect it – and only 15. It’s terrible.’

Visitors to the city Rebecca Chaplin (l) and Tracey Colbert-Smith (r) said they did not expect such a violent crime to take place in Southsea.

Rebecca added: ‘It’s happening everywhere – we’ve had stabbings in Cheltenham.’

There have been a spate of knife crimes across the city over the last six months, with May seeing a 19-year-old man stabbed in the city centre.

Daytrippers Andy from Fittleworth and Dawn from Havant passed the memorial last night while police cordoned off the scene – and both believe the legal system needs to become ‘tougher’ to deter violent crime.

Police at Southsea Common on July 20 after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed near Portsmouth Naval Memorial on July 19. Picture: Stuart Vaizey

Andy said: ‘There was an awful lot of police down here – there were at least 50.

‘I live in the country so this sort of thing doesn’t happen around there, but if I lived here with young children I would be concerned.

‘The problem is that the law isn’t tough enough to prevent this.’

Dawn agreed: ‘There’s always gangs going around. It’s got a lot worse.

Andy and Dawn, visiting the city, both believe stronger deterrents should be brought in to tackle knife crime.

‘My son had a gun pulled on him near where we lived when he was 18.

‘But things like this are still shocking.’

Julie and Peter Flick, who live in Gloucester and have visited friends and family in the city or the last 14 years, agreed that more needs to be done to deter young people from becoming involved in crime.

Julie said: ‘We don’t have enough deterrent. I don’t think (the culprit/s) will get a long sentence and they will have the same mindset when they come out.

Peter added: ‘It wouldn’t put us off visiting. We just feel really sorry for the city.’

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