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School friend of Tyrell Matthews-Burton rubbishes reports of gang affiliation
A teenager stabbed to death in Crete has been described as a "positive influence" who dreamed of providing for his family and teaching children.
Tyrell Matthews-Burton, 19, from the Lea Bridge Road area of Leyton, was stabbed outside a bar in the resort of Malia in the early hours of last Tuesday morning while celebrating his birthday.
Kalm Paul-Christian, a close friend of Mr Matthews-Burton from secondary school, helped set up a donation page, alongside another childhood friend Anisha Jackson, to support the family of the ex-Leytonstone School student.
Mr Paul-Christian, who is currently in Africa undertaking international development work before studying history at Oxford, said if he were he not in Ghana he would have been in Malia with his friend.
"Family meant the world to Tyrell, there genuinely wasn’t anything more important to him," he said.
"His friends knew providing for his family was of the utmost importance to him, so anything we can do to ease at least their financial hardship would be the least we could do to honour his memory.
"You genuinely couldn’t be in a room with him for a minute without laughing – I mean real laughter until your sides were hurting.
"He had a serious side too, he was confident and never afraid to stand against the crowd on an issue."
He added: "In our school leavers year book he expressed a want to go on and do sport coaching for kids.
"He would’ve been great at that, he loved football and was so good with the younger kids."
Mr Matthews-Burton’s family have declined to speak to the media at this stage.
Reports that Greek police believed the murder was gang related is said to have angered Mr Matthews-Burton's loved ones.
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy slammed reports of gang activity last week, saying many of the young men were celebrating getting into university.
She said she and Leyton MP John Cryer had been in contact with five families from Waltham Forest and Redbridge connected to the case, including the devastated family of Mr Matthews-Burton.
Mr Paul-Christian said: "Anyone who knew him, or even of him, knows that (gang activity) couldn’t have been further from the truth.
He was such a positive influence on all of us and this is a great loss to the community."
A student from Catford, Myles Litchmore-Dunbar, 19, is accused of killing Mr Matthews-Burton, as well as possession of a weapon.
It is claimed he was killed during a brawl involving 30 people.
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