800 attend funeral for slain football coach

Hundreds of mourners yesterday gathered to celebrate the life of a youth football coach who was stabbed to death in the street.

More than 800 people attended a two-hour funeral service for 20-year-old Antoin Akpom, who was described as “a pillar in his community, an inspiration and a beam of light” by his family.

The father-of-one, who was a football coach for Leicester Nirvana FC, was stabbed in Kent Street, Leicester, on September 12. Police are investigating possible links between his death and a suspected arson attack in Wood Hill, Leicester, in which a mother and her three teenage children died.

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The Rev Alison Cozens led yesterday’s funeral at St Peter’s Church in Leicester which included prayers, poems and songs chosen by Antoin’s family.

Cheryl Armatrading, Antoin’s mother, sang Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face before speaking lovingly of her son.

Addressing the congregation, Mrs Armatrading said: “Antoin at the tender age of 20 was a pillar in the community, an inspiration and a beam of light to all those who had the pleasure of meeting him. His smile would light up the room and he had a roar of laughter that was not easily forgotten.”

Two 19-year-old men have been charged with murdering Mr Akpom. Hussain Hussain, of no fixed abode, and Abdul Hakim, of Wood Hill, are due to appear for a Crown Court plea hearing on January 27.