Throughout the month of February, we’re telling the story of the 21 teenagers who were murdered in 2023. Our campaign, The 21, seeks to remember every victim as a young person with a family and their whole life ahead of them. We want to change the culture of kids carrying knives and becoming involved in violence.

This is the face of Ilyas Habibi, a 17-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in Sutton in 2023.

Name: Ilyas Habibi

Age: 17

From: Sutton

Here is a timeline of events and everything we know so far about his death:

Tuesday, December 5:

Ilyas Habibi was found injured in Sutton High Street just before 7.10pm on December 5.

The 17-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

Police revealed that Ilyas arrived at Sutton High Street by train and minutes after he came out of the station he station “he was involved in an altercation with the suspect who then fled the scene”.

Officers also said that it “isn’t clear if the suspect was also injured” and appealed for the individual, or anyone who knows them, to come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Nolan who leads the investigation said: “We know that Ilyas arrived at Sutton High Street by train.

“Minutes after he came out of the station he was involved in an altercation with the suspect who then fled the scene.

“Ilyas had suffered fatal wounds. It isn’t clear if the suspect was also injured. If you know the suspect, or if you are him, please get in touch.”

Friday, December 8:

Tributes were paid to Ilyas with flowers and lit candles left at the scene of the incident.  

Several candles outlining Ilyas’ name are also among the tributes at the scene.

Monday, December 11:

The brother of Ilyas Habibi told Your Local Guardian of when he "fainted" in the "traumatic" moment he found out his brother had been stabbed to death.

Ilyas’ older brother, Mr Habibi, has since paid tribute to his “hardworking” brother, adding that he was “kind, caring and generous” with his whole life ahead of him.

The 20-year-old said that he was proud to watch Ilyas grow over the years before his life was taken away from him.

Mr Habibi said: “Ilyas was my younger, he was delightful to be around. He was caring and loving to my parents and his siblings and friends.

“Ilyas was a lover of football, he would always shout at the television when he watched Arsenal play.

“The house was never quiet when Arsenal were playing because he was just screaming all the time.

“He had never done anything to anyone, was a really nice boy who was loved by everyone.”

Suspect identified

A suspect in connection with the case was identified on December 11.

Officers found he left the country from London Gatwick Airport on December 9. 

Police are working with international partners to locate and arrest the suspect.

A 19-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender was later released on bail.

Post-mortem examination 

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of Ilyas' death as a stab wound to the neck.

Newsquest London does not have information on any further developments on this case.