A “wonderful” young mum stabbed to death while ‘sticking up for a friend’ has been named by tearful friends as Shakira Mercedes.

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Grieving relatives today laid bouquets of flowers and left cuddly toy monkeys at the spot where the 23-year-old was killed on Sunday night near Camden in London.

An aunt, who did not want to be named, broke down in tears when she saw tributes left on the street.

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She wept as she walked along the police cordon with a walking stick and a bouquet of pink flowers in Chalk Farm, north London.

She said: “I’m confused and I’m angry.

“Why do girls carry knives? Why does anybody carry knives?

“Why? I don’t understand. I’m confused. I don’t even know what happened. ”

She’s been described as an amazing mother

She added: “I’m just sad her life has been wasted by foolishness – I’m sure it was foolishness. It’s people being stupid.”

Shakira was known by her friends as ‘Mercedes’, her middle name.

Soft toys were laid among the flowers next to the car park where Shakira was killed.

More than a dozen friends and relatives came to pay tribute to the mum-of-one this afternoon.

Friends said Shakira used to collect monkeys everywhere she went which is why the teddies were chosen.

One card, left with a bouquet labelled always and forever, read: “Age is merely the number of years the world has been enjoying you.”

Another card read: “Big love, Shakira RIP.”

Terry Ellis, from the Camden Against Violence, said Shakira regularly attended the group’s events, stating: “She’s a mother, she’s got a six-year-old kid.

“As far as I know it was an argument she wasn’t really involved in. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It wasn’t gang-related, it wasn’t drug-related.

Cuddly toy monkeys left at the stabbing scene

“She was a wonderful young lady, always happy. She’s got a lovely son and was just a normal mother.”

Another pal – named as Ronney, 21 – said Shakira was a “really, really good mum” and believed she had been sticking up for someone else when the stabbing happened.

Shakira was stabbed just yards away from a fatal shooting – in a completely unrelated act of extreme violence.

It is understood she was hanging out with friends outside a tower block shortly before she was knifed in the chest, according to residents.

Locals said they heard a group’s laughter turn into screams.

Police, paramedics and a severe trauma team rushed to the scene at around 11pm last night.

Officers administered CPR and tried desperately to save Shakira’s life before paramedics arrived but she died at the scene.

A forensic tent was pictured outside the car park of the tower block earlier today.

A local, who asked not to be named, said: “The police tried CPR until the ambulance came. They were trying desperately to start her heart.

Shakira could not be saved

“They were doing it straight on on the forecourt. They had to do it there and then to give her any chance at all.

“They were there extremely quickly. They were absolutely brilliant, they did everything they could.

“There were three police cars, three paramedics and the severe trauma crews. They were amazing.

“It was not the first stabbing we have had here.”

The murder is not thought to be linked to the shooting in nearby Kentish Town, and is the third murder that happened in the capital on Sunday.

Detectives arrested a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of murder.

A Met Police statement said: “Police were called at 23:13hrs on Sunday, 8 September to reports of a stabbing on Belmont Street, NW1.

“Officers attended and found a woman, believed to be aged in her early 20s, suffering from a stab injury.

“They immediately provided first aid until the arrival of the London Ambulance Service.

“The woman was pronounced dead at the scene at 23:55hrs.”

They said that two other women were also found with minor slashing injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, a resident has described hearing cries for help.

Police at the scene of the stabbing

The 31-year-old mum, who was at home when the stabbing took place, said she looked out her window to find the victim on the floor.

She saw another woman running down the street and calling for help as her hands were “hanging off.”

She said: “All I saw was the aftermath and I heard the screams.

“I saw the first girl lying on the floor, she looked so young, they all looked young.

“Then I heard another girl screaming and saying ‘can somebody help me, my hands and my fingers are hanging off.’

“It is just very upsetting. I didn’t see what she looked like as there were so many people outside.

“Now a woman has been arrested – it is normally boys on boys.

“It is shocking to hear it was a woman.

“I heard they were local residents and it looked like they were in their pyjamas.

“They were stood out there in little shorts, vest tops and flip flops at 11.30pm.

“All I kept thinking of was that poor girl’s parents. I am a mum myself, my son’s just eight-years-old.

“I went to work this morning but they said to go home after what I witnessed.

“Then my partner rang and told me about the other murder in Camden last night – it is literally walking distance from here.

“It is just upsetting, it happens everywhere but it is now on my doorstep.

“I have spoken to my partner already and said I want to move.”