A heartbroken Tamil family has spoken of their grief after watching a friend die from a stab wound at their child’s first birthday party.

Akilan Kandhasamy, 29, was fatally stabbed at about 11.30pm on Saturday at a party held at the New Horizon Centre, in South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham.

According to the family which organised the party, a group of teenagers – five black youths and two girls, one black and one white – were hanging around outside the community centre and began demanding money from guests at knifepoint.

Baskaran Sinnathurai, who lives in Thornton Heath, said one guest had been robbed of £60 in cash and ran inside to warn others and to call the police.

"So much blood, so much blood"

Minutes later, he said, Mr Kandhasamy stumbled into the hall clutching his chest and appeared to have been stabbed once.

Mr Sinnathurai said: “He came in and was speaking very softly [in Tamil]. He said that someone had got him with a knife then he just dropped to the floor like it was slow motion.

“Then he didn’t move and everyone was very scared. There was so much blood, so much blood. We were trying to shake him but it was no good.

“Lots of people were calling 999 and the police came very quickly, but the ambulance did not come for 25 minutes. We were very scared.”

Mr Sinnathurai also said party guests ran across South Lodge Lane to a nearby police office for the Pollards Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team, wrongly assuming a police officer would be there.

He said: “Two people ran over and ran back saying that no one had answered. We didn’t know they were there during the day only. We were running around not knowing what to do.”

Mr Kandhasamy, a stationery shop worker from Ilford, leaves behind his wife of three years, Parmita, and their 9-month old baby boy.

Police have yet to make any arrests.

An incident room was opened in Lewisham yesterday under Detective Chief Inspector Mark Dunne, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command.

DCI Dunne said: "I am appealing to anyone who was in or around the South Lodge Avenue area, and who may have seen or heard anything around the time of the incident on Saturday night to call our Incident Room."

Any witnesses, or anyone with any information about this tragic incident, should call the Incident Room on 020 8721 4906 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Did you know Mr Kandhasamy and would like to leave a tribute? Contact Omar by calling 020 8722 6335; tweeting @OmarOakes or emailing: ooakes@london.newsquest.co.uk.