The council fears installing a memorial bench for a young man who was fatally stabbed could raise "community tensions".

Watford Borough Council has said it will not be putting in place a bench in memory of Luke O’Connell after having discussions with Hertfordshire Police.

Mr O’Connell, 26, died in hospital after being stabbed on August 31 last year after a crash involving three cars on Gammons Lane, Watford.

There was a trial taking place at Harrow Crown Court earlier this year but it was discharged due to the judge having to self-isolate.

A fundraising page was launched in order to raise money to install a bench plaque at Callowland Park, which is next to where the incident took place.

Watford Observer:

Luke O'Connell. Credit: Herts Police

Friends of Mr O'Connell said they were disappointed with the council after it said it feared a memorial bench would "upset the community".

Elected Mayor Peter Taylor said: "First of all, I would like to express my sincere sympathy for Luke O’Connell’s family and friends.

"Our decision not to install a memorial bench at this time has not been taken lightly at all. We are very concerned about raising community tensions, and the effect on Luke’s family – particularly given that the trial of those charged in connection with his murder is yet to take place.

Watford Observer:

Flowers were put in the park in memory of Luke O'Connell. Credit: UGC

"After extensive discussions with Hertfordshire Police, it was agreed that we would first let the judicial process take its course before reviewing the situation again post-trial.

"We have spoken to Luke’s family and explained why we’ve made this very difficult decision. Our aim now is to help the community of Watford to heal and come back together following Luke’s terrible murder."