The oldest friend of an 18-year-old from Hampton, who was stabbed to death near Crane Park yesterday, has paid tribute to the former Richmond College student.
John Retschulte, 21, from Twickenham, went to school with Jamil Palmer, of Belgrade Road, who was stabbed to death in broad daylight on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Palmer went to Hampton Junior School, Teddington School and Richmond College, where he studied politics until 2013, as well as a stint at Kingston College.
The incident happened in Evans Grove, Feltham at about 3.30pm and Mr Retschulte spoke of his sadness but lack of shock over his best friend’s death.
He said: “With the road he chose, we were expecting it - it is terrible but not a shock.
“I have known him since I was 10 and it is such a sad thing but for the last 18 months he was not the same and became obsessed with knives and knife crime.
“He went to secondary school and saw the divide of these people and got in with the wrong crowd.
“He was 18, never hit rock bottom and never went to prison so never had the chance to turn it around.”
Mr Retschulte said Mr Palmer’s mother was on holiday and unable to be contacted regarding her son’s death.
He had been staying with his elderly grandmother in Hackney.
He said: “No one is helping the police, I am scared someone else will get killed today, I told them what I know.
“I want people to know what Jamil was like and the choice he made - I have lost a few friends to murder and to prison.
“He was very funny, the one thing I would say is he shot up like a sunflower almost overnight from being a chubby little boy to 6ft 4in.
“His smile used to touch ear-to-ear, he had a unique look about him.”
He said that Mr Palmer was mocked by his friends for being smart and that people took advantage of his good heart.
Mr Retschulte added: “People manipulated him and there was peer pressure, people saying things like ‘oh you’re not going to stab him’ and stuff.
“He was a good boy who went down the wrong road.”
Helen Lockey, headteacher at Hampton Junior School, described former pupil Mr Palmer's death as a “tragedy”.
She said: “While at Hampton Junior School, Jamil was happy and very well liked boy who was popular with both staff and children alike.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
A murder investigation has been launched by detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command in Putney under Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh.
An 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of murder last night and are in custody.
Detective Chief Inspector McHugh said: “I would like to urge anyone who was near Evans Grove, Feltham, between 3pm-3.30pm on Tuesday, May 6, to get in touch with police.
“They may well have seen something which could be of vital importance.
“I would also like to appeal directly to those that have knowledge of this murder to contact police.”
Police, London Ambulance Service (LAS) and London’s Air Ambulance attended and paramedics tried to resuscitate him but he died after being airlifted to a hospital.
An LAS spokesman said: “We sent a responder in a car, an ambulance crew, London air ambulance and a duty officer.
“He was in cardiac arrest and extensive efforts were made to resuscitate him before he was taken to hospital by air.”
A post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.
A friend of Mr Palmer, Mel Greatwood, said: “He was such a nice, funny guy, everybody loved him he always used to light up the party.”
Call the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with information.
- Did you know Jamil Palmer? Contact the newsdesk on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8744 4272.