A teenager was fatally stabbed on Monday and a second man wounded in attacks on London’s most famous retail street as thousands of shoppers flocked to Britain’s capital seeking post-Christmas bargains.
The killing of the 18-year-old man on Oxford Street — and a second wounding on the same road — did little to deter shoppers crowding into neighboring stores. Bargain hunters were also largely untroubled by a subway strike which badly disrupted the city’s public transport system.
New West End Co, which represents traders on central London’s shopping streets, reported ￡15 million pounds (US$23.5 million) in sales in the first three hours of trading.
Jace Tyrrell of New West End Co said hundreds of thousands of people had visited central London retailers, despite action by police to cordon off parts of Oxford Street and temporarily close some stores.
“These incidents are extremely rare on Oxford Street and we understand arrests have been made,” she said. “The emergency services were quick to respond and have cordoned off the street as they continue with their investigations.”
Tyrrell said shopkeepers had requested a meeting with police to discuss the incidents.
“We understand both incidents involved gangs of youth who were known to each other [and] the police, and did not involve individual shoppers,” she said.
Authorities said the teenage victim died before medics could administer help, while amateur video footage showed police struggling to part large crowds of shoppers to allow emergency vehicles to reach the man.
Police confirmed that about 11 people had been arrested in connection with the death.
Officers said a second stabbing took place close by.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne said two groups of youths appeared to have become involved in an altercation before the teenager’s death.