UK & World News

  • 12 April 2014, 9:17

Bereaved Mother Starts Knife Crime Charity

A bereaved mother driven by the loss of her teenage son has set up a charity to ensure young people know the stark facts about knife crime.

Jay Whiston was only 17 years old when he was stabbed to death by Edward Redman, now aged 18, at a house party in Colchester, Essex, in September 2012.

Within weeks of Jay's murder, his mother Caroline Shearer, from Clacton, had vowed to educate children about the dangers of using weapons.

Since September 2013, more than 10,000 young people in schools, colleges and even prisons have been on the Only Cowards Carry Weapons Awareness course.

Mrs Shearer said: "Jay had only been at the party 20 minutes. He walked in and they attacked him. He was dead 20 minutes later. It was a decent party. It was gatecrashed by kids.

"This is where the awareness comes in. Had Jay had the training for what to be aware of and watch out for in the schools he may still have been here."

The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court was told how Jay stepped in when the gatecrashers tried to take a friend's drink at the 16th birthday party.

He was beaten by the group then stabbed by Redman, the wound to his heart proving fatal. The teenager was found guilty of murder on Tuesday.

For Elliott Mcmillan, the death of his friend has been hard to comprehend. That is why he gave up his job to join the charity.

He helps run the course that leaves no doubt of the damage that can be inflicted and just how quickly a wound can prove fatal.

Elliott said: "He was a very good friend. He always taught me not to fight and be friendly to other people so when this happened I really needed to make a difference for him to make sure that these children don't lose their best friends ... so they don't have to put up with the heartache and loss."

Jay was considering a career in law. He was very close to his older sister, Holly Fairburn, who struggled to listen to the graphic evidence in court and hear what Redman did.

She said: "I will never forgive him. He is a waste of a person ... he is a coward.

"How somebody can go out with a knife in their pocket and not use it. It's like having an umbrella in your bag and not using it when it's raining.

"If you hold something like that then you are prepared to use and you should face the consequences."

The charity has given Mrs Shearer a focus. She will not stop until weapons awareness is part of the national curriculum.

But nothing will take away the pain of losing her only son.

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