Kingsland Road murder blamed on ‘inadequate controls on late night drinking’ by opponents to Shoreditch SPA alcohol bid

Great Eastern Street. Picture: Google Street View

Great Eastern Street. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Google Street View

Opponents to an off-licence’s bid to sell alcohol until 4.30am have cited the “horrendous murder” of Zakaria Bukar Sharif Ali as an example of the “awful consequences of inadequate controls of late night drinking” in Shoreditch.

Mr Sharif Ali was stabbed to death just after 6am on November 24 as he tried to break up a fight in Kingsland Road.

Vipinchandra Patel’s application to extend the licensing hours in his shop in Great Eastern Street has stirred up angry feeling amongst Shoreditch neighbours.

In 2016 Patel and Sons’ licence was revoked because of the alleged employment of an illegal immigrant, failure of a test purchase, unauthorised sale of alcohol and non-compliance with licence conditions.

In June the licence to sell alcohol was reinstated from 8am to 1am when Mr Patel sought to open his shop around-the-clock. And now seven months on he wants to extend the hours further. However in August the area was incorporated into the Shoreditch Special Policy Area, meaning it is now subject to more stringent licensing conditions than before.

Urging the licensing sub-committee to reject his application, Kerrie Ryan from the Met, detailed how Mr Patel had failed to engage with police and how extending the alcohol licensing hours could “exacerbate” problems in the area, which has seen a “huge increase” in violent crime with stabbings and large street fights.

“Having had personal experience of working on the streets during the night in Shoreditch, it is clear that most people buying an alcoholic drink from an off-licence during the early hours are going to consume it on the street,” she said. “The empty container often then gets discarded as litter or used as a weapon,” she said. “The drunkenness increases and in turn so does the anti-social behaviour with urinating, vomiting, fighting and other crime and disorder.”

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One Hoxton Square resident pointed out their lives have become “intolerable” because of drunken behaviour.

“The loudness of the crowds in the venues is made worse by the drunks who hang around for hours when the venues close, and the many others who are drawn to the area and use their cars as a base to drink and party,” they said. “Human faeces, urine and vomit and drugs paraphernalia are cleared every day from here.”

Another person added: “Patel and Sons are making this application to increase sales of alcohol to late night drinkers who wander the streets of Shoreditch.

“Pubs and nightclubs employ security guards who control the behaviour of drinkers inside their premises. But off-licences who want to sell alcohol in the middle of the night are not prepared to control the behaviour of drinkers outside their premises.” The licensing sub-committee will make a decision on Tuesday.