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‘My neighbour was shot dead in the street’: The reality of growing up near one of London’s most ‘notorious’ estates


When Liam was growing up, knives were often brought into his school, and violent fights erupted regularly.

When he was still a child, he and his mum were chased by a man on a bike who was trying to mug them in the park.

Liam Pinheiro-Rogers, now 26, lived near the then-infamous Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham, North London, in the early 2000s.

READ MORE: ‘I was caught with a knife outside Thorpe Park at 16 and it changed my life forever’

“When you’re that young,” he said, “and you spend most of your life in Tottenham, even if it’s bad – you don’t really know that it’s bad until you grow up.”

It wasn’t until his teenage years that he realised his experience of London wasn’t ‘normal’.



Broadwater Farm Estate was home to famous riots in 1985 following tensions between youth and police

He said: “The crazy stuff happened when I went into secondary school, that’s when I started to realise, ‘Okay, there’s something wrong with this area’.”

But one formative moment changed everything – when Liam was around 15, his neighbour’s son, who was in his late teens, was shot dead in the street one day.

“When I say neighbour, I don’t mean like someone on the same street just further down, he said. “I mean literally my next-door neighbour.”

“He was dead,” he recalled. “It was a complete shock to us.”

His neighbour’s grieving family remained living in the house next door, but that was the last he would see of them.

“The crazy thing about it is that after that happened, I didn’t see our neighbours again,” he said.




“They still lived next door, but I never saw their faces, I never got to see how they dealt with it, so it was always implanted in my mind – ‘How are they dealing with this?’, ‘What are they doing to overcome this?’”

Liam continued: “After that, my parents were like, ‘No, we’re not doing this.’ My mum even took me out of school for two weeks because it was that bad.

“Finally, it was like, our neighbour has been executed. We don’t want to raise our children here.”

He and his family then moved out of Tottenham to Barnet. Thankfully, he had been able to stay out of gangs himself.

He said: “My friend group was kind of a mixture of going into that kind of culture, and those who stayed out of it, and got good degrees and stuff.”

Now, Liam is determined to use his career to change the narrative around knife crime in London, and has written a short film, named London’s Forgotten.



Liam’s film, London’s Forgotten, is currently in the works and drawn from his own experience in Tottenham

“The idea sprouted in 2019,” he said. “There wasn’t one defining moment that really inspired me to write it straight away. But my neighbour’s death, and living in Tottenham, was always in the back of my mind.

“It’s kind of evolved into this big idea.”

He said of similar films already out there: “I always thought a lot of these films were quite similar and they didn’t really tackle the root causes of knife crime.”

Liam hopes to use his own experience to raise awareness of some of the root causes of violence, including school exclusions, grooming gangs, and poverty.



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“You know, I always wanted to show someone getting stabbed, or maybe a drug deal going wrong.

“But the thing with knife crime, and a big theme in my film, is that everyone is kind of bound by the same fate in these communities.

“But it all stems from different reasons that are interconnected.”

Liam is fundraising for London’s Forgotten. Find out more here.

Got a story you think we should be covering? Get in touch ella.doyle @reachplc.com.

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