Residents say it was no surprise there were attacks at house and techno event
Following four stabbings at a music festival in Morden some residents say they are not surprised the incidents took place.
Within six hours on Saturday (August 3), four men were stabbed at Eastern Electrics Festival in Morden Park.
The first victim, a 24-year-old, was attacked just after 4pm and taken to hospital. Just before 6.45pm another man, aged 27, was stabbed before being rushed to A&E.
Paramedics had to then take a third man, in his 20s, to hospital after he was found with stab wounds at 9.38pm.
And just before 10pm, a man in his 40s was found injured. None of the four men sustained life-threatening injuries.
Pippa Maslin was one of nearly 80 residents to object to the plans for the house and techno festival in Morden Park before the council gave permission to hold it.
The Hatfield Mead resident said: “I am very sad about the stabbings and I hope the people are okay.
“But I am not surprised overall. We have known in the past couple of years that although there wasn’t a huge catalogue of crimes, they are crimes that would not normally be in our neighbourhood.
“I am really sad that [the stabbings] have happened in my neighbourhood and I don’t know what the responsible authorities and licensing committee will say when the 2020 application comes forward.
“For all the opponents of the festival criminality is a big concern – we are often dismissed as only being concerned about noise and rubbish.
“I think it is on a different level when we are attracting criminals to our area, it is shocking in a way.”
But Ms Maslin did say that this year she found the noise from the festival much less disruptive to the local area. This is something that was echoed by others living near to the park.
One man, who asked not to be named, said: “From our perspective here it was better, there were more police presence and it seemed quieter than previous years. We had to clear up a few empty bottles but it was nothing like last year.
And the man, who lives in Lower Morden Road facing the park, added: “It’s horrible to think about stabbings happening in our part, I’ve lived here all my life. But it is not that surprising when you have a lot of people, a lot of drugs and a lot of drink.”
Another woman who has lived in London Road since 1961 said she avoided going out at the weekend after rowdy behaviour in the past two years.
The grandmother, who did not want to be named, said: “It was definitely controlled better than last year, they put up barriers so people stayed on one side of the road and there were security guys. I think the numbers are too great to have this type of event at a local park.
“I heard a lot of emergency vehicles, there was police, ambulance and paramedics but I didn’t know what it was all about. I am not surprised to hear that there was stabbings.”
Following the incidents a spokesman for Blue Fox Events which runs the festival said every person was checked entering the festival.
He said: “We can confirm that four serious assaults took place at Eastern Electrics on Saturday, August 3. All casualties were transferred to hospital after being treated on site by our medical team.
“The Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward and asking anyone with information that may help with their investigation to call 101.
“The safety of everyone on-site is our first priority and we will continue to work closely with the Police, local authorities and our security staff to ensure a safe and secure environment at Eastern Electrics.”
And the company has stressed that “robust security measures” were in place all weekend which included full bag search, full pat down, body search, and pockets emptied, metal detection wanding, drug detection dogs, explosives detection dog.
At time of publishing, organisers said they did not know how weapons were brought into the festival, but the spokesman added that the company will be “taking a look at its own procedures after the findings from the ongoing police investigation are released”.
A spokesman for Merton Council said that any future applications for events of this nature would take the incident into account.
The spokesman said: “We were shocked to hear what happened in Morden Park on Saturday. Our thoughts are with those involved and their families. Merton is a very safe place and we take safety at events very seriously.
“Should an application be submitted to the council for an event of this nature in the future, past events would, of course, be taken into consideration.”
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
August 6, 2019