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#LifeOrKnife

Sarah Barry – Losing Jack to Knife crime

Transcript

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Hey my name is Sarah and I’m 

here to tell you a story, 

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mine and Jack’s story.

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What’s the worst news your parents 

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or the people who care for you

could ever want to hear?

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I can tell you – there’s been 

a fatality, someone has died. 

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So I got a call one early morning asking

me to come home 

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I didn’t understand what was going on

I thought Jack was in trouble, 

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or maybe been in a fight,

or had been arrested.

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What I didn’t know at the time 

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was the police have to be 

really careful when finding out

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who has died, so they asked 

for a recent photograph 

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and questions like did he have 

a tattoo or wear a bracelet.

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Little did I know at the time that 

they were trying to identify my son,  

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the person that had died.

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They asked if they could take 

some personal stuff away, 

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a toothbrush and a hairbrush

so forensics could identify him,  

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to make sure it was definitely Jack,

and then it started to sink in, 

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Jack my son, was dead, and I 

said, I need to call his dad.

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Jack died from a knife fight,

it was just a chance encounter 

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with somebody he’d fallen out with

over a disagreement, 

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both parties were carrying knives

and there were only two blows 

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from each of them.

The incident took no more than 

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30 to 60 seconds from start to finish,

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but Jack was fatally injured, and

he died from a single stab 

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wound to the chest,

it hit him two inches above his left nipple.

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The knife, a Rambo knife, broke a rib, 

punctured his lung and hit his heart.

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He took two steps and he

fell to the floor 

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and he died where he fell.

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He bled out on the pavement

and it was very quick.

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Lots of people tried to help him,  

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two local ladies and his friends 

did CPR until the ambulance arrived.

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His friends were going mad 

ringing doorbells trying 

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to get him some help, 

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but nobody knew that this was 

going to be his last day on Earth. 

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His closest friend held him until

he faded away 

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and he has to live with that 

memory for the rest of his life.

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Then came the wait,

we had to wait 

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nine months before our case came

to court and we finally found out  

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what had happened to Jack

and how he died. 

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My ex-husband and I went to Crown Court

for nearly six weeks 

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and we had to sit and listen

to the testimony of Jack’s killer 

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who pleaded not guilty 

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saying Jack ran onto the 

knife and it was self-defence.

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They found his knife on the 

balcony of his mother’s flat

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stashed behind some bins. He lied to 

the police in his initial statement,  

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but they had a recording of his 999 call

telling his mother what he’d just done 

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and he was arrested in the back of the ambulance.

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He lied in the dock when being cross-examined,

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but the hardest thing ever was listening

to the forensic expert who told us 

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how Jack had died and my ex-husband

put his head in his hands and he cried.

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I asked him later why he cried and he 

said, that boy killed our baby, our son.

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Jack’s killer was found guilty on two counts, 

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one of murder,

and one of carrying a bladed weapon.

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He got 18 years in prison before parole.

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He was my son, my only child and we 

lived together throughout his short life.

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He was funny, kind, cheeky.

A grotty teenager who thought I was 

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the most uncool mum ever and I dared

not to say hello or speak to his friends. 

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But being his mum was my job

and I miss him so much.

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I want you to try and remember

that it’s easy to follow the crowd 

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and so much harder to go on a 

different path to your friends.

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But please remember about the people

who love you and and how 

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they would feel if anything

happened to you.

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Don’t put your loved ones in that position.

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I don’t know how I’m going to live

the rest of my life without my son.

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All I can tell you is that carrying 

a knife doesn’t protect you, 

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knives kill you and nothing comes back from death.

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It only takes a moment to die,

you have your whole lives in front of you,

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live it in whatever way you choose,

work hard and try and stay out of trouble.

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Jack never liked school,

he wasn’t academic. 

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But he had strengths and talents

in other ways, 

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he was good with his hands, 

a fixer of stuff in our home.

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Jack died on a housing estate,

he fell into the road and  

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there’s a brick wall there

and we just call it ‘the wall’ 

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and they’ve all written on it

and they always put flowers there.

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Sometimes they take a little

bottle down there, 

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or they go and have a drink down there.

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But every month on the seventh there’s

somebody down there.

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I think they think they’re protecting themselves, 

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but they’re not protecting themselves

because knives kill you.

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Like I’ve just said, you know you can 

inflict a wound, Jack inflicted a wound.

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Cameron had to go to a hospital 

because of the wound Jack inflicted.

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As a mother I’m deeply ashamed

of that because I never knew my son 

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carried a knife.

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I just genuinely didn’t. 

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I did everything the school 

asked me to do in terms 

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of trying to raise awareness,

and I always knew where my knives 

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in the kitchen were, but I never 

knew my son carried a knife .

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And as I say that makes me ashamed

because that’s not how I brought him up.

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He’s got two two cousins, Jessica and Abigail

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and they loved each other very much

and we used to holiday in 

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Brittany in France

with my sister and her hubby and my dad.

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And we’ve got some really fun videos.

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They used to do us a show

and we used to have 

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to sit there for two hours

and watch this show.

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But yeah, I wanted him to do

something like that.

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I want to thank you for your time today,

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I feel privileged to be allowed to speak

to you and to share our story

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and if any of what I’ve said today

helps you make a different choice

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and can prevent the same thing

happening to anyone else’s son or daughter 

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then this will have been worthwhile

and our story complete.

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Take care, always stay safe. Jack and Sarah.