Speak up now…

I watched help­lessly as my in­no­cent boy bled to death…

Chat - - Contents - By Genevive John­son, from south Lon­don

As I cooked din­ner, my boys chat­ted qui­etly in the next room.

‘When we grow up, we should live near Mum,’ my youngest Ed­vin, then 10, said to his big brother Ed­ward, 18. ‘So we can look af­ter her when she’s an old lady.’ Bless him!

It was late 1998, I was a sin­gle mum, and Ed­vin was my ray of sun­shine.

He’d been born with a se­vere squint, started wear­ing glasses at three months.

But he didn’t care, loved read­ing, sport. Played foot­ball, ten­nis, liked swim­ming.

He was a huge Arse­nal fan, and played footy for school and a lo­cal team.

Ed­vin was a joker, too, al­ways ready with a quip and a laugh.

His quiet con­fi­dence made him pop­u­lar, and his smile could light up a room. But he was kind, too. We didn’t have a car, so he’d walk with me to the shops, carry all our gro­ceries home.

‘Mum, one day when I get a good job and earn lots of money, I’m go­ing to buy you a nice car,’ he’d say. ‘A sen­si­ble hatch­back!’ So sweet and funny. He was al­ways think­ing about me, want­ing to take care of his mum.

As Ed­vin en­tered his teens, he fo­cused on his sports and stud­ies.

He had big am­bi­tions to work in sports man­age­ment and travel the world.

‘You’ll need a de­gree,’ I told him. Ed­vin was de­ter­mined. Af­ter col­lege, he ap­plied to uni­ver­si­ties.

I was burst­ing with pride when he won a place study­ing Busi­ness at Southamp­ton.

He was due to start in Oc­to­ber 2007.

‘I’ll miss you so much,’ I told him.

But I couldn’t wait to see him flour­ish.

That sum­mer, I went out and bought him new clothes, stationery, pots and pans.

Ev­ery­thing he’d need for stu­dent life.

‘Thanks, Mum,’ he grinned, try­ing on his new jeans.

On 16 Septem­ber 2007 Ed­vin was a cou­ple of weeks from leav­ing home.

He went to church, played foot­ball in the af­ter­noon.

Later, he popped out to visit a friend in the flats next door.

Noth­ing out of the or­di­nary.

‘See you later,’ he said as he left.

Only, just af­ter 9pm, my mo­bile phone rang.

It was Ed­vin’s friend.

‘Ed­vin has been hurt. Come quick,’ he cried. Pan­ick­ing, I screamed for Ed­ward, then 27.

‘Some­thing’s hap­pened to your brother,’ I shouted.

To­gether, we ran to the next-door flats.

My stom­ach churned when

Sob­bing, I took him in my arms, kissed his fore­head...

I saw an am­bu­lance out­side. Maybe he’s just fallen, I thought.

But as I climbed the stairs and turned the cor­ner, I spot­ted Ed­vin ly­ing in the stair­well. In a pool of blood. There was a paramedic work­ing on him.

Ed­ward and I looked on hope­lessly as the paramedic des­per­ately tried to save him. But some­how I just knew. My lit­tle ray of sun­shine was al­ready gone.

Ed­vin was lifted onto a stretcher, rushed away in an am­bu­lance.

Two po­lice of­fi­cers drove me and Ed­ward to King’s Col­lege Hospi­tal – but, as we ar­rived at A&E, a po­lice of­fi­cer broke the ter­ri­ble news.

Ed­vin had been pro­nounced dead on ar­rival.

He’d bled to death from a sin­gle stab wound to his groin.

Heart shat­ter­ing, I was led into a room where Ed­vin lay on a bed. Quiet and still. Sob­bing, I took him in my arms, kissed his fore­head.

Told him how much I loved him.

‘What hap­pened? Who did this to you?’ I wept, chok­ing back tears.

But my poor boy couldn’t an­swer me.

Couldn’t tell us who was re­spon­si­ble for putting him there.

Days passed in a blur of shock and mis­ery. I couldn’t sleep, or eat. Ed­vin was the cen­tre of our world, it didn’t feel right with­out him in it.

While we grieved, de­tec­tives search­ing the Craw­ford Es­tate where we lived found two sil­ver-han­dled kitchen knives.

They were dis­cov­ered to­gether, ap­peared to be from the same set.

And one had Ed­vin’s blood on it.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors told us a group of around 12 youths had been on the es­tate at the time of the in­ci­dent.

They said five of them had at­tacked Ed­vin and an­other young man – nei­ther of whom were be­lieved to have been the in­tended tar­get.

It had been a case of mis­taken iden­tity.

My son had been mur­dered for noth­ing.

He was friendly and pop­u­lar, didn’t have an en­emy in the world.

Wasn’t in­volved in drugs or crime. He was just 19. His whole life ahead of him.

‘Some­one must have seen some­thing. Heard some­thing,’ I wept to Ed­ward.

Po­lice in­ves­ti­gated, tried to get to the truth.

But of­fi­cers were faced with a wall of si­lence.

Some wit­nesses came for­ward, but noth­ing came of it.

Oc­to­ber came and went, and Ed­vin wasn’t there to start his de­gree.

Fly the nest, take a step to­ward his bright fu­ture. Christ­mas came next. I couldn’t bear to leave Ed­vin out, so I set a place for him at the ta­ble. More months went by. The po­lice did ev­ery­thing they could, made sev­eral ar­rests.

But their en­quiries never got far, no-one was charged.

Ev­ery time I left our flat, I had to walk past the block where my son met his death.

I missed Ed­vin more than words could say.

So did Ed­ward, and their six half-si­b­lings from their fa­ther’s side.

Yet his killer re­mained free to live his or her life, like noth­ing had hap­pened.

Ed­ward and I joined Through Unity, a sup­port group for fam­i­lies be­reaved by homi­cide.

We spent the next five years vis­it­ing schools to talk to young­sters about knife and gun crime.

Hear­ing about Ed­vin, teenagers would leave with tears in their eyes. Seven years af­ter his death, I moved to a new home, where I wasn’t con­stantly con­fronted with the mem­ory of that night. And on 16 Septem­ber 2017, it was 10 years since Ed­vin died. I won­der what kind of man he would have be­come. To mark the an­niver­sary, de­tec­tives launched a fresh ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion to catch his killer, or killers. They’re of­fer­ing £20,000 as a re­ward. And I’m beg­ging any­one who thinks they might know any­thing to please come for­ward. Some­one must know some­thing. Please. There’s a killer out there. And un­til we have jus­tice for Ed­vin, I’ll never find peace.

His whole life ahead of him

Broth­erly love Ed­vin was close to his older brother Ed­ward

Me and Ed­ward much miss him so

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