A A heartbroken local family is appealing for any kind of help possible to bring home the body of their 16-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in London last week.
Hani Abou El Kheir, the son of Kilkenny woman Pauline Hickey, was savagely attacked by an armed gang near his home in central London on January 27. A 19-year-old man appeared in court yesterday (Tuesday) charged with his murder.
The devastated family are now facing huge costs to arrange a funeral, and bring Hani on his final journey – back to the family home in Kilkenny. He is to be buried in Clara, in a funeral plot that should never have been meant for him.
The Hickeys are a well known family around Gowran, Dungarvan and Goresbridge. Tom and Bridget Hickey live in Clara, and they are now mourning the loss of their beloved grandson.
Tragically, Hani had been planning to come back and visit this month. He lived near Pimlico with his mother Pauline and his aunt Anne, to whom he was very close.
The circumstances surrounding the young man’s death were horrific.
He was walking with his girlfriend and friend when a gang of around 15 youths set upon them with swords and knives. As they ran for their lives, his friends managed to get away, but Hani tripped and fell.
On the ground, defenceless and alone, he never had a chance. He was stabbed 30 times.
His mother received a text message that her son was in trouble, and rushed to where he lay dying just metres from their home. Paramedics arrived and frantically tried to save Hani, but his injuries were fatal. He died a short time later.
His mother Pauline has since revisited the scene of the stabbing. Beside the many bunches of flowers there, she left a message for her 16-year-old son:
“My baby. My heart is broken. I love you so much, the pain is unbearable. Your loving mother.”
An only child, Hani was always passionate about his family and friends. He would also often phone his granny in Kilkenny for a chat.
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“He never stopped smiling,” said his heartbroken uncle, Eugene Hickey, who has just returned to Gowran from London.
“He was just a ball of fun. He was so innocent – just the happiest child you could ever meet.
“He was a typical teenager; his life was his girlfriend, soccer, video games. He was also inseparable from his mother.”
Eugene has appealed for any help that people can give. He said the community response had been heartwarming, and also thanked Canon Pat Browne, who has been a rock of strength for the family.
“Hani had a huge amount of friends,” he said.
“In the time that I was there, the amount of people from 5 years old to 75 that came by was something else. The local community’s response has been fantastic, every culture and nationality.”
Up to 10 people have already been arrested, questioned and released on bail following the attack. One man, Ahmed Mikhaimar of Vauxhall Bridge Road, Victoria, has been charged with the teenager’s murder. He is due to appear at the Old Bailey tomorrow (Thursday).
Anyone wishing to assist the Hickey family in bringing Hani home during this difficult time, is welcome to do so. Donate to Bank of Ireland, Callan. Account number: 91763440. Sort code: 90-59-42.