The family of a teenager stabbed to death in South Croydon last night have pleaded for young people to "stop the warring" so "another mother and another family doesn't have to be grieving like we are today".

In an emotional church service held on the Monks Hill estate this afternoon, hours after Andre Aderemi was killed on a nearby street, his mother Yemi described her eldest son as a "rock" and revealed the family had moved away from the area to try to "get him out of this environment".

The 19-year-old was found with knife wounds in Heather Way on the estate at about 7.40pm last night.

He died later in hospital despite frantic efforts from members of the public and paramedics to save him.

RELATED: Tributes pour in after teenager named locally as Andre Aderemi is knifed to death in South Croydon

More than 50 people gathered in St Francis Church in Tedder Road this afternoon for a service led by Reverend Peter Wyatt.

Mr Aderemi’s family and friends lit candles and shared memories of the former John Ruskin College and Oasis Academy Shirley Park pupil.

After an address from Mr Aderemi's aunt and a rendition of the Lord's Prayer, the teenager's mother stood to speak - tearful, but determined.

She said: "Yesterday I lost one of my three children. Andre is the 19-year-old so he is the eldest, but if you know Andre then you know he was always the one that needed Mummy the most.

"I am just so sad that on this one time I wasn't there for him.

“I've always been there for him. He just had to call me and I'd have come.

"I don't know how I'm going to be the person that I have been before because Andre has been a huge part of my life. He is my rock."

Mr Andremi's mother, herself a teacher at the Oasis Academy where he studied, said she had moved the family away from the estate.

But her son's attachment to the area and his friends that lived there kept drawing him back – and eventually to his death.

Addressing those gathered in the church, his mother said: "Those of you that know we did move away, I tried to get him out if this environment and it didn't work out, so I've lost my baby.

"He loved you all so much that even when we moved off of Monks Hill he still wanted to be on Monks Hill.

"So he died on Monks Hill, and I'm sure he'd be happy to wear the t-shirt that says that."

Two 19-year-old men were arrested on suspicion of Mr Aderemi’s murder yesterday.

In what appeared to be veiled references to the circumstances of her son's death, his mother said: "Most importantly I want Andre's friend to know I don't blame you, I don't blame any of you.

"Andre would not want me to sit here today with hatred in my heart.

“But I want you to please be together, support each other and just share memories of him.

"He is my baby and I'm not going to get him back."

RELATED: Two arrested after teenager stabbed to death in South Croydon

Pointing to her other children, she added: "I just don't know how I'm going to carry on, but I have got to do it for those two.”

She said Mr Aderemi's two brothers had been "broken" by his death.

Friends of Mr Aderemi also stood to speak and share their memories of him, although the words of some could barely be heard through their tears.

The murdered teenager's aunt Mandy, who opened the service, said his family had wanted to give "everyone the chance to get together and say a prayer for our Andre".

Choking back tears, she all those gathered had "your own little memories of him", and described him as "a clown in our family, always laughing always joking".

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St Francis Church in the Monks Hill estate

She added: "I can never ever say that I ever saw a time where Andre cried or was unhappy."

Referring to her nephew's violent death just hours before, she said: "We don't pretend to understand what went on. Young people, we can't judge any of you, but we just ask that you just stop the warring.

"You're killing young people and today another family are grieving. Another brother, sister, cousin, mother, father.

"Please say a prayer, not just for Andre, but for our young people because you are the next generation. Say a prayer."

Following the service, family and friends made their way to Heather Way to lay flowers and light candles in "rememberance and celebration of Andre's life".

Rev. Wyatt said young people in the area had been "devastated" by the killing.

He added: "It has just happened... complete shock. It is not what people living on the estate are used to.

"I saw an air ambulance land on a nearby green, just around the corner. It was pretty obvious that something serious had happened.

"Having found out it was a stabbing, I find it really shocking because someone has lost their loved one. The relations, the family and friends are all just devastated. This is probably the first time they have known someone who has been killed and died in this way.

"It is not a normal thing to have happened around here."

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