Over several months the British nation has been gripped by the media’s coverage of stabbings. Senseless crimes, cutting short an age range of peoples’ lives.
On the 8th of March, less than 3 months into 2019, the Sun newspaper put out a report showing the statics of the United Kingdom’s first 100 known victims for this year. The report included photos of some of the fatalities. And stated that the youngest victim was a month old baby boy and the oldest were twin brothers aged 84.
One of the statistics covered was a young lady, Jodie Chesney. The 17-year-olds murder made front page news when on the 1st March she became the 5th teenager to be stabbed in the capital since the beginning of the year.
Her father Peter Chesney described his daughter as a ‘keen scout’, ‘a great girl’ and ‘a proud geek’. In an appeal the broken man tells of how he was celebrating his birthday when he received the chilling call; telling him that his daughter who had been sitting with friends, listening to music near a children’s playground in Harold Hill had been stabbed in the back.
Peter described in anguish, his daughters last hour on earth until she lost her battle and died in the back of an ambulance. He wants justice for his incredible loss.
My 26-year-old son lives a 3 minute walk from where Jodie was ferociously attacked. He timed his steps.
Driving through Harold Hill with my friend, both of us mothers, we were clutched by deep sadness for a community in mourning.
Every tree has a purple ribbon tied round it in a vigil for Jodie. These ribbons spread far and wide throughout the district of Havering.
As names have been released of those believed to be involved in the fatal attack of Jodie, the ripple effect has begun to circulate. Everybody knows somebody with a connection to those who have been named.
My closest friend who drove us through Harrold Hill recognised the name of one of the males who was arrested in Leicester connected with attack that took place at 9:25pm on that fateful Friday. She was shocked to see it was a man that she had, had an incident with a little more than a few years ago. Under age to be on the road, he was the cause of an accident with her parked car. She remembers how she had ranted at him regarding his insolence; and has been left shook-up by the thoughts playing over in her mind that things could have turned out so different.
A little over a week ago my son informed me that he was considering buying a stab-proof vest; he had already looked them up online and seen that they cost around £50… My mouth dropped open as the reality hit me. My son came within the most common age of victims in their 20’s and 30’s this year. Whilst the notion truly pained me, I came to realisation that it could possibly be the best £50 ever spent.
Throughout his teen years and us living in Collier Row, Romford, my biggest fear was that my boy would be knifed. During his early teens he had been mugged by the same person on two separate occasions whilst walking through a Romford subway. No knife was used, although the behaviour of his mugger was extremely threatening and his body language had suggested that he was carrying something in his pocket.
Today my son came to see me at my mother’s house in Hainault and told us that he knew 18 year old Svenson Ong-a-Kwie who was the third person to be arrested and joined a 16-year-old male who cannot be named due to legal reasons and Manuel Petrovic aged 20, both arrested and charged with the attack. My son was more than surprised when he realised that Svenson was involved. Although he was surprised by his age, he believed that he had been older, he said that any time he had met him, Svenson had seemed mild mannered.
The community of Hainault in the Redbridge district which a joins Havering, are just coming to terms with normal life again after the fateful night of Friday 12th October 2018 when Moses Mayele, 23 years old became one of the statistics for London stabbings which rose by 16 percent that year. He was celebrating his 23rd Birthday with his friend. Father-to- be, Moses and his friend had just picked up some food in Manford Way before he was stabbed to death next to a static kebab van. Moses lived with his family ten doors down from my mother’s house. My son knew him to show recognition with a nod.
Hundreds of mourners had gathered at the spot where he was killed and although the Kebab traders have moved their business, a shrine still stands in the memory of Moses Mayle who had everything to live for. Two men have been arrested and charged in connection to Moses murder and attempted murder of his friend. The two men were attacked by men wearing balaclavas, witnesses said ‘for no apparent reason’.
Senseless acts of violence seem to be plaguing our streets. Less than three months into 2019. Yesterday in Fulham during the early hours a 29-year-old man was stabbed during a fight, adding to the Sun newspaper’s statistics. And today in Surrey a 19 year-old teenager was stabbed, thankfully he suffered non-fatal injuries.
My fear is reading the statistics at the end of 2019. Our children shouldn’t have to go out shielded from the rest of the world. We shouldn’t be afraid to walk the street wondering who will be next.