'He thought he was going to die' - teenager, believed to be just 13, stabbed in back in attempted robbery
PUBLISHED: 07:20 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:17 15 November 2019
A teenage boy who was stabbed in the back in an attempted robbery "thought he was going to die" according to witnesses who came to his aid.
The boy, believed to be aged 13, was stabbed in an alleyway near the Aldi store on Larkman Lane in Norwich just after 5.30pm on Wednesday evening.
He went for help at the nearby bus stop, where 31-year-old Soloman was waiting while visiting friends on Dereham Road.
"He didn't realise he had been stabbed," said Soloman. "He was full of energy and not in a good state."
"When he turned around there was rip in his jacket which I alerted him to. I then touched it to point it out to him and there was blood on my hand."
He said the boy had a six or seven inch gash to his back which didn't look life-threatening but "a lot of blood was gushing out".
"It was pretty serious and had gone right through to muscle, and I tied his jacket around it to stop the blood," he said.
"The boy was panicking, seriously panicking and thought he was going to die so I reassured him. He first of all wanted to run off but I stopped him and told him he shouldn't go home as it was a serious wound. A lot of blood was gushing out."
Police are investigating and two boys aged 16 and 14 have been arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.
Officers believe the victim and suspects are known to each other.
The victim was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and has since been discharged. Nothing was stolen during the incident.
A police cordon was put in place at the scene but has since been removed, and the 14-year-old and 16-year-old remain in custody.
A 39-year-old neighbour, who asked not to be named, saw police arrive as she returned home.
"I just thought they were stopping to patrol or check up on people," she said. "Sometimes there is suspicious activity around here.
"You see drug dealers down the alley and people watching the houses.
"Usually on Friday or Saturday evenings there are young people down the alley drinking and they are so loud you can hear them from the houses.
"This place is quite dangerous. I used to walk down that alley and I would always keep my phone in my hand in case something happened. I just don't feel it is a safe area. I thought something like this was going to happen.
"It is surprising how young they are, and things like this just shouldn't happen."
Police have said they do not believe the incident is connected to county lines, and it is unclear what weapon was used.
Norwich commander superintendent Terry Lordan said: "We have got two individuals in custody on suspicion of attempted robbery and assault, and we believe this is not a county lines related incident.
"Our working assumption at this time is that the incident involved teenagers that were known to each other."
He added a large percentage of robberies occur when the victim knows the offender.
Local policing commander, chief inspector Sonia Humphreys said: "The consequences of knife crime can be severe, even fatal, which is why we take any offences involving knives extremely seriously.
"We have a number of measures in place to tackle knife crime and to educate young people about the dangers but the community have a role in this too.
"We all have a part to play in keeping communities safe so if you know or suspect that someone is carrying a knife, report it. "The people involved in this incident are all thought to be under the age of 17 and are likely to be still living at home. I would therefore urge parents not to overlook any changes in their child's behaviour, which could be considered out of character.
"I would also encourage young people who may have concerns about their friends to share this information with parents, teachers or the police; there are many ways in which we can help and information will be dealt with in the strictest of confidence."
Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen anything or witnessed any suspicious activity in the area.
They should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting incident number 324 of 13 November 2019. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.