Three suspected graffiti artists killed when a train struck them at a notorious vandalism hotspot have been named as friends nicknamed ‘The Three Musketeers’ who got a ‘thrill’ from spraying on railway tracks, it was revealed today.
The men – one 19-year-old and two 23-year-olds known as K-Bag, Lover and Trip – are believed to have been hit by an overnight freight train as they painted on walls in south London.
Three black hearts and RIP have been sprayed on shutters outside Loughborough Junction station in south London – and wellwishers also left three bottles of spray paint with the nozzles removed – in pink, yellow and orange.
One fan of their work wrote on Facebook: ‘Sad news today, The Three Musketeers! RIP’ and others posted photographs of them spraypainting all over London, including on its railway network and trains.
Another wrote in tribute: ‘When I see new tags and graf track side I’m pleasingly reminded that we don’t all live in a boring servile society. Among the adverts spoonfed to us are small reminders that there are thrills to be had. RIP K-Bag, Lover and Trip’.
The tragedy took place on an elevated stretch of track with no ‘refuge’ to escape trains on the busy electrified line in South London.
Three suspected graffiti artists killed when a train struck them at a notorious vandalism hotspot have been named as ‘The Three Musketeers’ including a young man named ‘Trip’ (pictured in a tribute)
The other two young men killed have been named as K-Bag (left) and Lover (right) whose work can be seen all over London including on trains and railway walls (pictured)
Three black hearts and RIP have been sprayed on shutters outside Loughborough Junction station in south London overnight with three coloured spray paint cans
Fresh graffiti and spray cans have appeared overnight at the station near to where where three graffiti artists died after being hit by a train.
Three bright bouquets of flowers have also been left under the sign with one of the cellophane wrappings sprayed with the name Trip in pink. No cards have been attached.
It is believed they were working in the dark and were probably run down by a freight train using the line after passenger services ended for night.
Police were alerted to the bodies by a train driver shortly after 7.30am yesterday. They launched a recovery operation on the section of the overground line which runs broadly west to east between Denmark Hill and Clapham High Street. Their bodies were walked down the track by police and carried out via Brixton station.
The capital is experiencing a resurgence in eye-catching street murals fuelled by Instagram and other social media.
Fellow artists say those involved will often take great risks for an ‘adrenaline buzz’ and to find difficult-to-reach locations that cannot be painted over.
Spray cans, including a specialist brand used for graffiti, latex gloves and fluorescent vests were recovered. Police forensic experts took photographs of fresh graffiti tags on a low wall dividing the railway line.
British Transport Police Superintendent Matt Allingham confirmed that ‘one line of inquiry’ was that the victims were graffiti artists.
He said: ‘The bodies were discovered by a train driver. We know that they were dead for a while before we turned up. It is a possibility that it was during the hours of darkness.
‘There isn’t a sort of safe refuge up there, so if somebody was on those tracks there wouldn’t be anywhere for them to go to avoid the train. If they’ve been caught in that section of track when a train came through, they really wouldn’t have had much options.’
One tribute used the image showing an evidence bag containing their spraycans and latex gloves with the caption ‘Graffiti isn’t a game’ – another made their own mural in their memory
One of the three bodies found on the track in South London was removed after being carried from Loughborough Junction to nearby Brixton Station
Social media tributes reveal the three friends would often work together and would tag together on walls across the capital
Scrapyard worker Mark Bowers said: ‘A police officer told me they think the men were doing graffiti when they were on the tracks. You see a lot of it around here, but I’ve never seen anyone actively spraying. It all happens during the night.’
Loughborough Junction is a stone’s throw from Brixton, arguably the most popular destination for graffiti artists from across the capital. Veteran artist Justin Rollins, 34, said the trio may have been ‘caught by surprise’ by a commuter train.
‘I don’t see any other reason why there are three guys walking down that stretch of track. The Thameslink trains are really quiet. You don’t always hear them coming. It might catch you by surprise.’
He added: ‘There are different sorts of graffiti, but if you’re in London, you don’t care. It’s a buzz, it’s an adrenaline thing.’
There were 399 graffiti attacks in London in the first quarter of this year, the highest number for eight years, according to official police figures. Southeastern, one of the hardest-hit train companies, said mural-type graffiti had ‘more than doubled’ in recent months.
An employee at spray paint stockist VapesLondon in Brixton said it was possible the men bought their supplies there as ‘it’s the only graffiti shop in south London’. He added: ‘The graffiti scene is a very close network. I had boys come in earlier saying, “did you hear what happened?” ’
Loughborough Junction resident Maureen Scott, 77, said: ‘This place is a bit of a hotspot for dare graffiti. They do it in all these tricky-to-reach places. They spray all along the railway tracks in this area.’
A police spokesman said last night: ‘Their families have been informed and are now being supported by specially trained officers’.
British Transport Police were called to Loughborough Junction (pictured) near Brixton shortly after 7.30am on Monday and found three bodies
Police were carrying bag after bag of evidence from the scene containing clothes, shoes and other items found on the track near Loughborough Junction station
The high bridge and its arches near Loughborough Junction are popular with graffiti artists who leave their ‘tags’ on the brickwork
Superintendent Matt Allingham (pictured), of the British Transport Police, said the layout of the tracks meant there wouldn’t ha