Fam­ily cam­paign for mur­dered son

Jus­tice for Josh of­fers hope against knife crime ‘epi­demic’

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE mur­der of 21-year-old Josh Han­son in an East­cote night­club has left his fam­ily “in a dark place”, his mother said.

Tracey Han­son spoke out this week, three months af­ter her son was fa­tally wounded at RE Bar in Field End Road, which has re­mained closed since the in­ci­dent on Oc­to­ber 11.

She said the fam­ily, in­clud­ing Josh’s sis­ter Brooke, is de­ter­mined to get jus­tice and to tackle the scourge of knife crime.

Ms Han­son, who set up a Face­book page called ‘Jus­tice for Josh Han­son’, said: “It seems to get harder ev­ery day. It’s hard to com­pletely grieve when you’re busy try­ing to get jus­tice.

“My day’s now spent with around eight to 10 hours on so­cial me­dia, it’s a lot of work. I’ve had peo­ple reach out to me, who’ve gone through some very sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences and that’s just heart-wrench­ing.

“For me it’s about knife crime – stop and search needs to be more ac­tive – it’s an epi­demic as far as I’m con­cerned.”

Josh, who was de­scribed by po­lice as a ‘hard work­ing lad’ with ev­ery­thing to live for, was stabbed in the neck.

A man­hunt is con­tin­u­ing for 27-year-old Shane O’Brien of Lad­broke Grove, a sus­pect in the case, who re­mains at large and there is a £10,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to his ar­rest.

Ms Han­son, from Kings­bury, added: “Since that day we’ve been in a dark place, but then you just get a mes­sage of hope and have peo­ple be­hind you that you’ve never even met, and it’s very hum­bling.

“When I re­ceived the call to hear what had hap­pened to Josh, I went there, and was there un­til 5am. The po­lice told me noth­ing was go­ing to hap­pen but I just didn’t want to leave un­til Josh’s body was re­moved.

“We’ve got to work hard now, to get jus­tice for Josh, and cre­ate aware­ness about knife crime and any­thing we can do to pre­vent that.”

She said the fam­ily set a place for Josh at Christ­mas and set off lanterns at new year.

“Josh had so many plans laid out for this year. What he lived for was to work very hard, and live life. He was sav­ing for his first prop­erty which is very com­mend­able at 21,” said Tracey.

Around 2,000 peo­ple at­tended his fu­neral at the Sa­cred Heart Church in Kil­burn on Novem­ber 20.

The fam­ily hopes their ‘Jus­tice for Josh Han­son’ cam­paign will gain of­fi­cial char­ity sta­tus in 2016, af­ter rais­ing more than £30,000 so far.

The char­ity will put on events for fam­i­lies who have been af­fected by un­pro­voked knife crime.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about Shane O’Brien’s where­abouts is asked to call de­tec­tives on 020 8785 8099 or Crimestop­pers anony­mously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestop­pers-uk.org.

n EV­ERY­THING TO LIVE FOR: Josh Han­son pic­tured with mum Tracey and sis­ter Brooke. In­set, tributes left at the scene of the mur­der

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