Sheffield High Street killing: Community group says leadership 'must come sooner' in future

A community group has called for leadership ‘front and centre’ should there be another tragedy in Sheffield like the High Street killing.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:04 pm
Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, spoke at the vigil

A candlelit vigil was held on Friday evening in memory of Mohamed Issa Koroma, who was stabbed to death in broad daylight in the city centre two weeks ago (September 17).

Among the mourners were the 24-year-old’s family and friends, and speakers included Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings, city council chief executive Kate Josephs and race and equality commissioner Sonia Gail.

Today, one of the the organisers behind the gathering praised the council’s chief executive and the police and crime commissioner for speaking on the night but asked for ‘stronger leadership’ should there be another tragedy.

Flowers and candles left on High Street, Sheffield, during the vigil

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High Street murder: Sheffield community gather to pay their respects at vigil fo...

Olivier Tsemo, CEO of the Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association (SADACCA), said: “I will give praise where it is due – it was very good to see the police commissioner and the chief executive for the city council.

"They spoke to the vigil and they sent a unifying message to Sheffield that we were all together, that incidents like this are rare and we as a community are safe.

"But leadership is key. It has been over two weeks. I feel that there was not enough to come forward and tell the community they were safe. I wanted to see the crime commissioner and the police front and centre sooner saying why this will not happen again. The community was very much in the dark and there was very little information.

A candlelit vigil was held on Friday night for Mohamed Issa Koroma, who was stabbed to death on High Street in Sheffield on September 17.

"The message of reassurance came late – but it was good for them to come on the night.

"Leadership must come quicker, to step up and say we are safe.”

Mr Tsemo spoke to The Star on Thursday prior to the vigil, when he said: “This was the death of a man who looked like me. I have men who are in their 50s in my community who are afraid to go into town. I have five boys, and if I learned one of my boys died I would want to know everything is being done to say this will not happen again and that the community is safe.”

Mohamed – a food bank volunteer who was affectionately known as ‘Chris’ – was fatally stabbed on the afternoon of the September 17. It is understood he was handing out leaflets for his church at the time.

CEO of the Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association Olivier Tsemo.

Despite the efforts of passers-by, paramedics and police, 24-year-old Mohamed, of London Road, could not be saved.

James Patrick Lee, 31, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, has been remanded in custody after being charged with Mohamed’s murder. A provisional trial date has been set for next March.

Sonia Gayle, of the Sheffield Race Equality Commission, spoke to the Star at the vigil and said: “I’m pleased that the people of Sheffield came together as a community to pay their respects to Mohammed and his family. It was very respectful, everybody listened, and you could feel the love and the warmth from everybody. It was very powerful.”