End this tragedy


[from Islington Gazette]

End this tragedy

27 August 2008
The Respect Life campaign
The Respect Life campaign

THREE grieving families – who have all lost a son at the hands of a knife-wielding killer – are today uniting in a call to end the stabbings.

They have all endured seeing a cherished son and brother slain in the streets of Islington – and now they have come together to say it is time to stop talking and take action.

Bereaved mum Lorraine Dinnegan, who lost son Martin at the age of 14, said: “We are hearing the same things over and over. It’s just talk, talk, talk. But nothing seems to be getting through. There is too much talk and not enough action.”

SallyJayne Brown, who lost son Elliot Guy just months after he welcomed his new baby into the world, said: “I always used to think that drugs and knife crime was associated with drugs or iniquity. But it can happen to anyone and Elliot was living proof of that. There is no way in a million years that he deserved this.

“This is not about colour, race or creed. This affects everybody in all walks of life. All you have got to do is be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

And Sal Idriss, whose younger brother Nassirudeen Osawe was just 16 when he was killed, added: “There is a lack of consciousness about how precious human life is – and no remorse at all. I can’t believe that people are still committing these offences.”

All three victims were just starting out in life.

Martin was only in his third year at secondary school when he was killed in Holloway last June.

Nassirudeen – the youngest of five children – had recently completed his GCSEs when he was knifed in Islington in December. Elliot had just finished a £10,000 fine furniture-making course when he was stabbed to death in July.

And they were not the only people to have died at the point of a blade in Islington recently – since June last year, there have been seven knife deaths, including of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella in June.

The families all agree that action needs to start in the home – and that the police need to take a tougher stance.

Mrs Dinnegan has just seen 16-year-old Joseph Chin – a boy who was born addicted to drugs, grew up in a crack den in Quill Street, Finsbury Park, and had gone out armed by the age of 12 – jailed for her son’s murder.

The 41-year-old nutritionist, who lives with her husband and five children in Evershot Road, Finsbury Park, said: “When there is a young person who has been involved in crime, or there is a problem within a family, the council needs to step in there quick and sort it out. They need to nip it in the bud.”

Mrs Brown believes it is a lack of education that is leading to “young kids killing kids”.

She said: “The children are all a product of their environment, of society.

“Half those kids don’t even know their dads. They have had no discipline. They grow up and there is shouting and swearing in the house and they think it’s normal.

“What about schools? Can’t they teach moral standards, right from wrong?

“I don’t think the culprits are even aware of the impact they are causing. They are just ignorant.

“If every mother checked their child’s room before they went out, it would help. I have a 16-year-old son and it’s nothing for me to go up and search his room every now and again. It’s nothing to monitor what kinds of friends he has.

“And of course you should be sent straight to jail if you have a knife. The only reason you would be walking around with a knife is if you have bad intentions.”

Mr Idriss agreed. The photographer is currently doing an exhibition with the families of people shot or stabbed to death.

The 38-year-old, who lives off Highbury New Park, Highbury, said: “We need to make sure people are not carrying offensive weapons and people also need to try to speak to their children.

“It’s up to the parents to make sure that they children don’t go into the wrong crowd or the wrong place. Nobody is going to do that apart from the parents themselves. I know that parents can only do so much but they are the key.”

The roll-call of Islington knife victims since June last year:


The St Aloysius’ College pupil from Evershot Road, Finsbury Park, was stabbed to death by the then 15-year-old Joseph Chin at the junction of Tollington Way and Axminster Road, Holloway, on June 26 last year after Martin and his friends became involved in a row with another group of youths.


The former St Aloysius’ College pupil of Grosvenor Road, Highbury, was knifed to death in Upper Street, Islington, on December 27 last year – just six days short of his 17th birthday – after he and two friends became involved in an argument on a number 73 bus.


The Ethiopian-born Swedish woman was stabbed in the chest at her fourth-floor apartment in Peabody Square off Essex Road, Islington. between June 4 and 6. Her body was bundled into a suitcase and set alight in a Cambridgeshire lay-by on June 18, where a lorry driver noticed the flames.


The Marks & Spencer worker, heavily pregnant with her first child, was stabbed and beaten to death in her own home in Annette Crescent off Essex Road, Islington, on June 14.


The Holloway School pupil from Barnsbury, the brother of former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, was knifed up to 11 times at the corner of North Road and York Way, Holloway, at 2am on June 29 after a disturbance at the nearby Shillibeers bar.


The new dad, who had grown up in Archway and then Gospel Oak, was stabbed in the neck after going to a house party in Junction Road, Archway, on July 19. He had just finished a £10,000 course in fine furniture-making in Devon and lived with his partner Amy Smith and daughter Eleanor in Ealing, west London.


The sister of a teacher at Acland Burghley School in Tufnell Park was found stabbed to death in her second-floor flat on the Grovedale Estate off St John’s Way, Archway, on July 30. She was the mother of a 15-year-old boy called Alex.


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