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Teenager, 17, charged with murder of schoolgirl Elianne Andam in Croydon after devastated family gather at vigil
29 September 2023, 07:45 | Updated: 29 September 2023, 08:01
A teenager has been charged with the murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl Elianne Andam in Croydon.
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The boy, 17, will appear at youth court in Croydon today.
He has been charged with murder and possession of a knife.
Police and paramedics were called to Wellesley Road in Croydon at approximately 8.30am on Wednesday, 27 September to reports of a stabbing but despite their efforts, Elianne died at the scene.
A 17-year-old male was arrested in New Addington around 75 minutes after the incident and he was charged this morning.
Yesterday, police recovered a knife in Cedar Road, Croydon.
Elianne’s family are being supported by specially trained officers.
Her family visited the scene where she died in Wellesley Road on Thursday evening during a vigil, as crowds gathered outside the police cordon and prayers were said.
Elianne’s heartbroken mother, nurse Dorcas Adam, was at the vigil last night. She was consoled by her husband Michael, crying while trying to “comprehend this painful tragedy”.
They spent around 15 minutes there while 30 relatives, including her aunts and cousins laid flowers themselves and watched others pay tribute.
Elianne's relatives stood next to the bus stop, inside the cordon, close to where she died.
Some put their arms around each other as flowers were put on the ground.
A statement was read out by a church leader on behalf of the family at the edge of the crime scene.
The statement, which was read out while family members cried and consoled each other, said: "We as a family are struggling to comprehend this painful tragedy that has happened to our beautiful daughter and beloved sister Elianne. Our hearts are broken.
"And we are overwhelmed by sorrow and grief. Our faith in the Lord is strengthening us.
"We would like to express our gratitude to those who have taken the time to send us thoughtful and compassionate messages and prayers.
"We kindly ask for your consideration to also respect our need for privacy as we attempt to come to grips with our deeply devastating loss.
"Elianne was a beautiful person inside and out who loved Jesus. She was intelligent, thoughtful, kind and had a bright future ahead. It is our request that you keep our cherished daughter Elianne and our family, in your thoughts and prayers."
Meanwhile, Elianne's friends were "sobbing" and "so emotional" at her school on Thursday, Donna Murray-Turner, chairwoman of the local Safer Neighbourhood Board, told crowds.
She said she read messages in a book of condolence and they "talk about her laugh".
She added: "Staff, teachers, talked about when she entered a room you knew she was there. And her friends, as you can imagine, were sobbing. They were so emotional."
Dozens of bunches of flowers have been left at the scene after the teenager's death.
Police officers who were among the first on the scene and battled to try to save Elianne appeared visibly moved as they laid flowers.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Woodsford, who is leading the investigation, said: "My thoughts and the thoughts of my team are with Elianne's family.
"This is a deeply upsetting time for them and we will do everything we can to support them."