Parents’ Halloween photos of children may have captured masked killer

Parents who took video and photos of their children playing in a park on Halloween may have inadvertently captured images of a suspected killer, police say.

Detectives investigating the murder of Rocky Djelal believe his masked attacker was waiting for him for at least 15 minutes before he struck.

Mr Djelal, 38, was stabbed twice in the attack at Southwark Park in Rotherhithe, south-east London, just before 2pm on October 31.

Police have now appealed for parents who were in the park around that time to review their images to see if they show the suspected killer.

Investigators believe Mr Djelal, a father-of-one, was targeted in an attack that lasted less than 30 seconds by a playground near the Gomm Road entrance.

Police want to identify a man who was caught on CCTV walking calmly near the scene close to a children’s playground and a school.

Appealing for witnesses a week after the murder, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said: "We have released a short clip of CCTV footage of the man we want to speak to in relation to the fatal stabbing of Rocky Djelal.

"The video shows the suspect in the park prior to the attack and then leaving shortly after he has killed Rocky.

"I hope that by releasing the footage someone might recognise the suspect, his walk, his clothing or maybe his gait.

"From leaving the park at 14:00hrs, the suspect walks out onto Gomm Road. At the end of Gomm Road the suspect turns left onto Lower Road passing in front of the Seven Islands Leisure Centre, heading towards the large roundabout at the north end of Southwark Park close to the entrance to the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

"I’m sure that someone would have walked past him and I need these sorts of witnesses to come forward and help us piece together his movements.

I also would like to hear from anyone who may have taken pictures or video on their mobile phones whilst in Southwark Park between 11:00hrs and 14:15hrs on Wednesday, 31 October.

"It was a clear sunny day and was of course Halloween which may make the public remember where they were."

He added: "The park itself was quite busy that day, it was the middle of the day and there were quite a few people around with either kids or jogging or walking dogs, and because it was quite a nice day people would have taken a lot of photographs or video of their kids.

"It was also Halloween, so people would remember being there."

He asked anyone who was in the park to think back about what they did from around midday in case they caught Mr Djelal or the suspected killer on film.

Witnesses have described the suspect as a white man, believed to be aged between 20 and 35 years old, who was wearing dark clothing with a hood covering his face, according to police.

The man was also wearing a fluorescent hi-vis vest over the top of his clothing.

No-one has been arrested.

Investigators have been scouring CCTV to see if the 38-year-old victim was followed in the hours before his death.

He had convictions for violence and had only been released from prison in July, leading detectives to consider whether the murder was a revenge attack.

No one has come forward to say they planned to meet him in the park, meaning the killer might have lured him there.

Mr Harding said: "One of the biggest lines of inquiry that we have along with CCTV is to understand Rocky’s past and those who might have and bear a grudge against him."

Mr Djelal was jailed for six years in 2014 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cause GBH in the mistaken identity murder of City porter Christopher Foster.

Aytach Lisani, the knifeman who murdered Mr Foster in a revenge attack against the wrong man, was jailed for life with a minimum of 23 years at the Old Bailey.

In 2001, Mr Djelal was cleared of taking part in a brutal Christmas Eve attack on a Turkish asylum seeker which left him permanently brain damaged.

Mr Djelal’s family said in a statement: "We would like to thank everybody for the kind words, love and support you have shown our family at this time. Thank you to all of the people who rushed to Rocky’s aid in the park and made sure our boy was not alone in his final moments.

"Thank you to all of our friends and family who waited in the park with us while we waited for our boy to be taken away, we couldn’t have done it without you.

"The messages and phone calls of support we have received have blown us away. It’s so comforting to hear all the lovely things you all have to say about Rocky and to know our boy was truly loved.

"We are absolutely grief stricken. We have lost our boy, our son who we adored.

"A father who was idolised by his daughter, a brother who was loved dearly and an uncle, nephew and friend who was loved and respected.

"We are broken-hearted, we miss you so much and you will live in our heart’s forever, we are so proud of you. We are so sorry if we let you down in anyway, you were always there for us.

"Rocky I’m so proud to be your mum and I cherish every moment that we shared. Anyone who really new you knows you have a heart of gold and you’d do anything tho help those you love.

"Daddy/Rocky our hearts are broken and will never be the same again. We have always loved you and we always will. We will miss you forever, your baby Macy and Jane.

"For those who are helping the police with their enquiries we can’t thank you enough and urge anybody to come forward with any information no matter how insignificant you may think it is.

"This happened in a child’s play park in broad daylight and we would not want any other family to go through what we are going through."

At least 250 people have been stabbed to death in Britain this year amid a rise in violence, including four in London since the killing of Mr Djelal.

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