Thames Valley Police are appealing for witnessesfollowing a stabbing on Iffley Road thattook place on Tuesday.
A 31 year old man was treated for an injury to his neck sustained in a fight at the funeral of 76 year old Winnie Joyce, co-founder of Redbridge Hollow travellers’ site near Kennington. The service was held at near by Greyfriars Church.
A witness told Cherwell that around 20 police quickly arrived on the scene in an area renowned for its high proportion of student accommodation. Although the wound was later described as “superficial” by the police itis understood that hospital treatment was required. As a precaution the road was temporarily closed to traffic whilst police officers took control of the scene, the witness claimed.
The funeral had attracted large crowds o fpeople. The mourners had congregated nearby the church when, according to the police report,at around 11.20am a fight broke out between a number of young men, one of whom received superficial injuries to the back of his neck. The alleged stabbing was the climax of a much larger conflict.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman confirmed that no arrests were made and it is understood the man involved failed to press charges.
The police rapidly established a heavy presenceon Iffley Road with, according to Cherwell’s witness, multiple officers, three cars, a riot van and a helicopter arriving at the scene to restore order. The injured man was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital.
Deputy Inspector John Turner, who was appointed by Thames Valley Police to lead the investigation, said, “We believe that this was an incident between men who knew each other.” Reports are unconfirmed that those involved were members of the travelling community.
The fight was witnessed by many of the students who were living across the street in college owned accommodation. Noah Evans-Harding, a second year Medic at Corpus, witnessed the results of the fight from the window of his room. He commented, “There was quite a big crowd down the road by the church. I’m not sure quite what happened but there was abig commotion and the next thing I knew the place was swarming with police. A guy walked past with a deep 5cm long slash on the back of his neck. The whole his back was covered inblood and he was swearing a lot.”
He added, “I was confused but not shocked,you expect this kind of thing in Iffley.”
Deputy Inspector Turner hastened to stressthat there was no danger posed by the incident to the local community, stating, “We do not believe that there is any threat to the wider community and officers have been working to calm tensions since the incident happened.”
However the area’s students seem not to have been intimidated by the event. Ben Houghton, a fourth year Mathematician from Exeter, commented “I was stopped at the bottom of Bullingdon Road by a policeman who said there was an incident up on the left. All I could see was sort of superficial fighting, but I guess it could have been dangerous to go past.”
Ellie Berryman, a second year Lawyer, echoed these views, commenting, “It doesn’t really worry me, it wasn’t related to us” before adding, “It probably would’ve happened anyway.” Fourth year Physicist Alex Lawson also commented, “I’m not expecting it to ever happen again so I’m not really worried.”