Peace bench unveiled in memory of man stabbed to death for complaining about noise

The family of the man stabbed to death after complaining about the noise coming from a teenage gang, unveiled a peace bench in his memory on the sixth anniversary of his death yesterday.

Father of two, Stevens Nyembo-Ya-Muteba died on October 1 2006 after the tragic event in the stairwell of his home in Evergreen Square, on the Holly Street estate in Haggerston.

Illegal immigrant Joseph Ekaette, 19, stabbed Mr Nyembo-Ya-Muteba in his heart and lungs as the gang, including some as young as 13, chanted “shank him, shank him” - a term for stab - before running off laughing.

The devout Christian had decided he had enough with the noise made by the gang who regularly intimidated residents on the estate that night, because he had to get up early the next morning.

Ironically the 40-year old refugee - who had been offered a place to study maths at Cambridge University - escaped violence when he fled the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo 15 years before.

His 35-year old widow Veronique Masosa who has since moved away from Hackney with daughters Debbie, now 13 and Sheridan, 10, told the Gazette the bench would give them a place to come back to where their lives were torn apart and remember her husband.

“I believe every individual who will see this bench, will sit on this bench will join us in our battle to eliminate the four-headed monster from our community,” said Aziz Rahim, housing services director at the North London Muslim Housing Association (NLMHA) at its unveiling.

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“Drugs, gangs, dangerous weapons and violence, I always call it the four-headed monster that society is fighting on daily basis.

“The monster is tearing us apart; it is affecting every fabric of our life. It is destroying people’s life, taking our beloved ones from our life, we are trying our best to combat this.”

The NLMHA, the family’s former landlord, paid for the bench to be installed in Evergreen Square.

Cllr Karen Alcock, Deputy Mayor of Hackney added: “The thing I remember most about it is yes, the gangs, and some of the issues which continue to be a challenge in Hackney, but the thing that sticks in my mind was how many good families there are here and what a good man your dad and your husband was.

“I never met him but it really came through how he stood up in this community and tried to make a difference.”