A-Z

Bereavement due to traumatic death

Murder or manslaughter with a knife or a blunt instrument

Learning that a friend or relative has been murdered is deeply shocking (see 'Changing emotions and physical reactions'). Some of the people we talked to described what happened after a relative or friend was stabbed with a knife or hit with a blunt instrument by a complete stranger or by someone they hardly knew.

 

Westley was stabbed by a stranger. He had asked the other man to wait his turn while getting...

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Age at interview: 57
Sex: Male
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Yes, Westley, on the 12th September 2005 had actually decided to spend the day with his older brother, and had gone across to his home around midday, and during the early part of the afternoon he decided he would go and get some cash from the nearest cash machine, rather than wait until he’d actually got into town. The first cash machine he went to the machine wasn’t working, so he then cycled down to another parade of shops, just on a, on a small estate. There were about six or seven shops on this parade, and he put his bicycle against a wall, waited in the queue, and as the lady left the machine and he went to step up, so somebody tried to push in front of him. He naturally, as I believe most people would do, I certainly would do, he said to the person that they should wait their turn. And the person became very angry, went away swearing, and unbeknown to Westley telephoned his brother. During the actual court case that we went through, roughly about 11months after the incident, there was CCTV footage that showed Westley having used the machine and putting his money away, he was talking to the man that had been behind, and they look across in puzzlement towards the car park area where a car had pulled in at speed, out jumped the driver who joined the earlier man that had tried to push in front of Westley, we later came to realise they were brothers. They walked purposefully at speed towards Westley and the other man, who was still looking puzzled, and one appeared to punch Westley in the neck. He had in fact a knife in his hand, and severed Westley’s carotid artery. This actually happened at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
 

And how did you hear about it?

 

Well again it’s such a small world. Somebody actually saw the incident unfolding that knew us as a family, so the news got to me personally before the police had the opportunity to go through the normal process of sending someone and delivering the information in a sensitive way.
 
So did you get the information by telephone?
 
The information came by telephone, at that point. The person, I never really established who it was, other than it was someone who knew Westley and knew us as a family, they were saying, “We think Westley’s been stabbed.”
 

David found his son, Simon, bleeding to death on waste ground behind their house. His son had...

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Age at interview: 55
Sex: Male
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It was 18th September 1992, the boys had gone over to a youth centre, this was about half past ten, they knew they had had to be back by half past ten. My wife and I were just about to go to bed and actually got ready for bed, we were actually in bed, knowing the boys would be home any moment, then we received a phone call from one of my sons, saying that the eldest son was being stabbed and beaten up, on waste ground, at the back of our house. We then quickly got dressed and raced over to the waste ground, we met our other son over there, but by the time we got there it was too late, we found our eldest son lying there in a pool of blood.

 

How awful.
 
I raced over to him, I tried to get rid of my other son by making him go to ring for an ambulance, my wife was catching up pretty fast, I made her wait because it wasn’t the best of sights to see.
 
After what seemed like an eternity, the police finally arrived, and at that time the police said, he felt, he thought he could feel the pulse, I couldn’t, I tried, I couldn’t, I’d tried I couldn’t feel a pulse on my son, and about five minutes later the ambulance crew came. We were then taken back round our own home, supported by a couple of police officers who were basically with us. And I suppose about half an hour later they announced he was dead.
 
Just to go back to that original part, what happened was one of the boys [who killed my son], I should have mentioned it I suppose stole a motor bike and went into the car park where my sons were playing. I think they were kicking a ball around or something, and almost run them over, and what happened at that point was my eldest son who got killed, he went up and kicked the bike and said, “What’re you doing, you know, you nearly just run us over?” And at that point, the boy said, “I’m going to get my mate to stab you.” That’s how it all came about. That’s how he got the murder charge actually.

People suggested why it had happened and recalled how they had heard the news. Some had thought that jealously had played a part, but people suggested other reasons too.

 

Terri was on holiday when her son Ben was stabbed to death by a young man who had been...

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Age at interview: 43
Sex: Female
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Me and my husband were going away to a wedding. My, my friend, very good friend was getting married in Cyprus. So it was all booked and planned and had been done for about 12 months and the plan was that my mum was going to come to my house, look after the children while myself and my husband went away.

 

Everything was hunky-dory. Off we went. We arrived in Cyprus late on the 16th June and went down for breakfast the following morning. I changed some currency, sat by the pool and the concierge came looking for me. And I presumed it was something to do with my passport. We’d had a bit of a joke because it was about 9 years old my passport and I looked very different. And I was ushered into a room and there was some very official looking people there, so I knew straight away something, it was something quite serious. And they asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and the lady said to me, “I’ve got some terrible news”. And it was a gut feeling, I knew straight away it was Ben. I just said, “It’s Ben, isn’t it?” And she said, “Yes. I’m sorry to tell you but he’s been killed.” So firstly I thought it was a car crash and the next thing I was just on my knees on, on the floor in this room screaming. I just don’t know where it came from. I just started howling. And my husband heard me. He, he was by the pool and I said, “What’s happened, what’s happened?” And she said, “He’s been stabbed. I’ve got no other details. We need to get you home.” And I said, “I need to ring my mother.”

 

So they gave me the phone. Unbeknown to me my mother, my mother had also been attacked which I didn’t know at the time. I rang my mum’s and my brother answered the phone and he said, “Look, Terri, just get home.” I said, “What’s happened with mum, what’s happened?” He said, “We’ll tell you when you get back.”

 

There were very good people at the hotel. They got me, me and my husband into a taxi almost immediately and we were on a plane within about an hour and a half. I drank a litre of brandy believe it or not and I don’t’ know how I walked off that plane. But I did, I just felt so violently sick. So arrived home literally a few hours later, to be told that three people had come into the house late evening, into my family home. They’d chased Ben down the road.

 

He’d come home from his job at about eight o’clock at night and unbeknown to Ben these three men were waiting for him at the end of our cul-de-sac. They didn’t know who he was. One of them did but the other two sort of had a description of him. They chased him down the road. He ran into the front room, just literally opened the front door and ran in and said, “Grandma, there’s somebody after me.” My mum had just got out of the shower, she was still in her dressing gown, and, and my daughters were downstairs. And the next minute there was, there was three men, aged 27, 35 and 17 raining blows on my son.

 

Just started to batter him. And my mum had no idea what was going on. The next thing my mum was punched and kicked and knocked to the ground and she was, she lost consciousness for a few minutes. When she came round Ben came staggering into the lounge with three stab wounds, one which had pierced his heart. And he, my mum just said, “Who, who is it Ben, who’s done this?” He named that, the man that had done it and the next door neighbour came and tried, tried to resuscitate him. And the ambulance came He were, he was taken to the local hospital but was dead on arrival.

 

We’ we’ve since found out, obviously during, well basically during the next 24 hours that the younger of the the three, who was seventeen, had had a grudge against Ben for seven months over a girl. The seventeen year old had been out with a girl who'd finished with him in favour of Ben. Ben had started going out with this girl for a couple of months, the relationship had even finished, but he'd been emailing people telling them how much he hated Ben and that he was jealous of him. Ben was the captain of the football team he was, obviously i'm very biased, he was a beautiful looking boy.

 

Michelle had felt strongly that something dreadful had happened to her mother and was horrified...

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Age at interview: 40
Sex: Female
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On the 12th October 2005, my Mum had gone to work. My Dad had dropped my Mum off at work and he’d called round here at lunchtime, and somebody had telephoned him to say that my Mum hadn’t turned up at her job. And instantly that unnerved me, and I felt quite worried. I felt like intuitively I knew something was wrong.
 
And my Dad said, “Well you know your Mum, she’s always helping people. She’s probably stopped along the way and she’s helping someone.” And it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right at all. So I said, “Well can we ring the hospital?” The local hospital, and make sure that nothing’s happened. That my Mum’s been taken in. So my Dad said, “Okay, then we’ll do that.” And we rang the hospital and no, no, no Mum, no lady of that description or age had been taken in.
 
So I got my Dad to keep ringing the place where my Mum was supposed to have gone to work. There was just no answer. Anyway my Dad sat for a while,
 
Then he went home. And I came up to bed for a lay down and I started crying because I just knew something terrible had happened. And I kept saying, “Oh please Mum where are you? Please be alright.” And I couldn’t rest. And about, my Dad was due to pick my Mum up at half past three so I was so stressed out and impatient that at half past three I rang my Dad’s house, and my Dad answered the phone, and I said, “You, you haven’t picked Mum up have you?” And he said, “No, I’ve had to ring the police and report your Mum missing.” And I thought, “No, that doesn’t ring true. That doesn’t sound right.” Because my Dad can’t have been there, come home, rung the police, all by half past three, so, something, no somebody’s not telling me the truth here.
 
So I then had to get up and I felt so anxious and stressed out. And it was a terrible time because I knew something was wrong. And I sat downstairs. I like to watch Home and Away, that’s my little treat for the day, and I sat to watch Home and Away, and I was still worried and thinking of my Mum, and then I heard footsteps, footsteps coming up the path, and I stood up and looked out, and I saw my Dad, and I saw a lady and a man with him. And I went to the glass of the door, and I just looked and I just started, I became hysterical, and I started saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, can’t be.” And I opened the door. , they came in, and…
 
They told you the bad news?
 
They just said; I was going around the house and wouldn’t let anyone near me and I was just saying, “Get off me, no, no, no, no, no I can’t hear this. No, I can’t do this.” And my Dad got hold of me and tried to calm me down, and they said, “We have found a lady’s body, we can’t tell you anymore than that.” And I was saying, “Well what do you mean? Found a lady’s body, what can have happened? It is an accident? Has she taken an overdose?” And I was running through my mind what could have happened. What has Mum had a fall and cracked her head or? And nobody could tell us anything. And then I just become detached. It was like I came outside of my body and I was looking at myself in this horrendous situation, but my body was trying to protect me. It felt like your body being protective, because it was just too much to take in. It was just way too much to take in. Absolute shock, horror, disbelief, I can’t hear this, because it can’t be true. And it was horrendous.
 
So what happened the next day?
The next day the police came back around, and I remember one of, the man came into the lounge and he said, “I’m awfully sorry to tell you this, but your wife was actually murdered.” And, I remember my Dad’s words, he went, “Oh God. Oh.” And we just couldn’t believe it, and like the first thing my Dad said was, “Can you tell us, was she sexually assaulted as well?” And, and, and he said, “No, I can confirm that your wife wasn’t assaulted, you know sexually assaulted.” And, I don’t know, I’d, you just go, you just can’t take it in, it’s just too horrendous, your mind cannot cope with such a huge shock.

Lisa found out that her ex-boyfriend, who was homeless at the time of his death, had been stabbed by a man who said he had murdered two people because he was “cleaning up the streets”. Two friends of Lisa's were murdered within seven months.

 

A newspaper article described two people who had been stabbed. Lisa thought one might be her ex...

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In November 1996, a friend of mine that I used to go out clubbing with, she was murdered in her own home. And we didn’t know who had done that for a long time. There was Crimewatch programme on it. And we all had our DNA taken.
 
How awful.
 
It was shocking.
 
A shock.
 
And then, while we still didn’t, still didn’t know who had done that, seven months later, my ex-boyfriend was also murdered. And he was murdered in the street.
 
How awful.
 
He was stabbed. And I went and identified his body.
 
That must’ve been terrible. Did he not have any close relatives living nearby?
 
He, he’s from the north of England and you know living down here and.
 
I’d read in the paper that day that two people had been stabbed. And I thought that sounds like my ex-boyfriend, I wonder if it is. And I rang the police and they said, “Well it possibly is. Can you come and identify him?” [laughs]. So I did.
 
I went and identified him and it was him.
 
Is that first time you’ve seen a dead body?
 
No. No. But
 
But to see your boyfriend, it must’ve been awful?
 
It was, yeah. It was shocking.
 
Well straight after that there’s a gallery round the corner from the coroner and there were some big paintings that I really liked. And it was early in the morning and I went to the gallery. And I went in and sat in this room by myself, surrounded by these beautiful big paintings, Rothko. Do you know Rothko?
 
Beautiful big red… I just had a peaceful, quiet moment to myself just reflecting. And then, and the after that my life had just changed beyond description. I used to be really outgoing, happy, capable, confident person. And when my first friend died, it was like the world had changed so. And everybody was normal and going on about their business and I was working and I was just thinking, “How can you all be normal? People don’t… this doesn’t happen in life. I don’t get it.” And then when my ex was murdered, I was just like, I can’t do this anymore, I don’t… I can’t. Life doesn’t make sense. This is not normal. It’s not ok. It’s not reality, as people know it. And that I felt like at that point, part of my soul just left. I just thought, “I’m not staying here, this horrible. I don’t like being here.” And that I wasn’t very well after that.
 
I was seriously not very well. And for six and half years, I was very ill.  I was classed as disabled.
 
All brought on by these murders?
 
Hm. I was suicidal. I was cutting, which I’d never considered before.
 

Adam’s brother, Lloyd, was murdered by "thugs" who hit him over the head with a wooden sign. They beat him unconscious, broke his jaw and inflicted several other injuries. Adam wanted to cry but he felt that he had to be strong for his parents’ sake, so he choked back his tears. He also had other reactions.

 

When Adam heard news about Lloyd’s death he wanted to cry but almost laughed. He knew laughter...

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Age at interview: 22
Sex: Male
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On the 25th September 2005 I had a phone call about roughly one o’clock in the morning. It was my Dad on the phone and I had to work the next day as well, so I was a bit angry at first because I didn’t know why he was phoning me, and I couldn’t make out what he was saying, I thought it was interference with the phone signal.
 
And then as I figured it out, I could hear that he was crying, and he said, “Adam, Lloyd’s, Lloyd’s been attacked, he’s dead”, and I remember that, well I just went into a daze really, I can’t even, I can’t even say I felt anything, I didn’t even feel sad, I didn’t I didn’t know what to think, I was just like a zombie after that. And they said that the police were going to come and pick me up and take me to the, to the hospital, so that I could meet them there and see him and things like that. I got dressed, I was wandering around the house just aimlessly, I mean my housemate was still up and he said you know, “What’s the matter?” And I said, “My brother’s been, my brother’s dead.” And I just didn’t, I didn’t have any sort of reaction on my face at all. Although to be honest and I don’t like saying it, because I think it’s a really weird thing, to react like but, I might as well be honest because other people might have reacted the same to news like that, I actually laughed, and I can never understand why, but then it happened again, I was with some friends and we were having a joke and a laugh just trying to lighten the mood, and I can remember we were laughing so hard our sides were splitting and I can remember because I was laughing so much it just suddenly turned into this horrendous amount of crying, but I managed to stop myself before it got like that, because there was this thing at the back of my mind the whole time saying, “Don’t cry, don’t be stupid,” you know, “Pull yourself together.” So, even now if I start crying, two sniffles later and then I stop because I feel stupid even when I’m on my own.
 
Why do you think you feel stupid?
 
I don’t know, it’s one of the things that was said to me by a member of the family, I don’t know whether, I don’t know whether it was that but I was told, “Be strong for your parents”, so every time I started to get upset I would choke it back, and walk away, anything to not let myself be seen crying and things like that. And I think as a result of that that maybe one of the reasons that I’m unable to cry as much now because I’ve got this built in thing saying, “Don’t, don’t cry, don’t be silly, be strong.” and going to back to before going to the hospital, my parents turned up in the end, and they said the police were unable to pick me up and take me to the hospital because they didn’t have enough police cars. They didn’t have enough resources. So my parents turned up.

Jayne’s husband, Jonathan, and Dolores’ son, Tom, were both killed by strangers who were already known to be mentally ill.

 

Jayne’s husband, Jonathan, was waiting for an underground train. He was stabbed by a man who was...

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Age at interview: 44
Sex: Female
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Well, it was it was a Christmas in 1992, and I’d recently got married to Jonathan, my husband, we got married in the September, after a very short courtship and Jonathan had moved to London and he’d only been in London for about six weeks, and he was just settling down and we were settling into a new routine of life, and his family had come over from Italy for Christmas, and he had gone to the airport to meet them. There was his mother and his father and his two brothers and his sister, and he’d gone to the airport to meet everybody from the flight from Italy, to bring them back across London on the flat, and there wasn’t enough room in one of my friends cars for a lift, so Jonathan had to travel on the underground to come, to come home really, and he came home with his brother on the underground. So they had to travel across London on the Victoria line up to Finsbury Park, and at Finsbury Park, when they got to Finsbury Park there was a man on the platform who went up behind Jon and attacked Jon and stabbed him three times in the face and one of the blows pierced Jon’s artery above his right eye, and he didn’t regain consciousness, so he didn’t have a chance after the attack really. And the man who killed Jon, who attacked Jon that day put the knife back in his pocket, the tube driver was arriving into the platform when they saw the attack happening and stopped the tube, and the man put the knife back in his pocket, sat on the train and waited to be arrested.
 
And a policeman came to my flat where I was waiting for the whole family to come back, to tell me that; I answered the door to the police and they told me that Jon had been involved in an incident, and that I needed to go to the hospital. And I realised perhaps that I needed to ask somebody to be there with me, so I rang a friend because my family lived in Cornwall, and went to the hospital, and on the way to the hospital I was informed that Jon had been stabbed in the face and I asked the police officer whether they knew that, whether he was going to die or not, and he said that he didn’t, that he didn’t know. And I remember getting to the hospital and there being lots of police there, yes, men in suits I call them, and Jon’s brother, and they made us wait, the clinical team made us wait because they said they were giving Jon a brain scan. That there was a good sign because Jon was still breathing, so there was that, you know, that was a good sign, and they, we waited.
 
I was with Jon’s brother and Jon’s brother, I remember him walking up to me and saying, “He just came from nowhere,” because the attack was completely indiscriminate. I mean the gentleman who killed Jon literally had been very menacing on the platform and other people had seen him and moved away, but Jon had not seen the gentleman, and Jon’s brother had seen him on the platform that he was behind them and motioned for Jon to move, and as Jon was moving he stabbed him from behind, so Jon and, all the evidence suggests that they didn’t even make eye contact, so the attack was extremely indiscriminate.
 

Tom was stabbed 22 times by a young man with schizophrenia. Dolores describes how she heard the...

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Age at interview: 54
Sex: Female
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It was 15th of September 2006 and we were home asleep, myself and my partner. And we’d just come back from holiday in Switzerland. And we’re fast asleep. It was as far as I’ve been told, about eleven o’clock at night or just after. And the phone rang and I thought,  and I always knew that whenever the phone rings at that time, there’s something wrong. But I always get annoyed that someone can ring us at this time and usually it’s my brother or my sister. They both live abroad. Or someone I know that lives abroad and I reached for the phone and then answered. And someone’s voice… and I can’t remember all words. But all I remember is that they said, ”Fatally wounded” [crying].
 
And I think … vaguely remember him asking if I am Tom Easton’s mother. And when he said fatally wounded I, I didn’t comprehend. I just asked, “Where is he, which hospital?”
 
 “What’s happened?” And he said, “I’m sorry, he was fatally wounded.” And then I just … I couldn’t speak anymore and I passed the phone to my partner.
 
And I just I just went and sat on the floor by the bed. And screaming, that’s all I remember then [crying].
 
Then I ran downstairs because I didn’t want to listen to what he talking to the policeman about. I just ran downstairs and, and, and grabbed the phone and I didn’t know which number … what I was trying to do whether I was trying to ring someone or tell someone.
 
And I’ve been told after that I rang a friend. And she wasn’t there and  or she was and probably asleep. And I was just screaming, “Tom was killed” [crying].

Some people we talked to said that those who had committed the crimes had been a family member or a friend of the victim.

 

Marcus' fiancée, Louise, was stabbed by a man who pretended to offer Marcus work. Initially...

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Age at interview: 38
Sex: Male
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Yes. Just twenty-two years ago my fiancée was brutally stabbed to death in south London. And the way that came about I actually met a man who offered me a gainful employment, at the time I was unemployment. And we decided to proceed with me taking the job he gave me. And over the next two to three days we became, I guess friends. Little did I know that the time that the person I’d met had only recently been released from a jail in Scotland, for cutting somebody’s throat. Having served his time, having been released, he’d only been out of jail six weeks. And he came to London with a view; so I’m told by the police etcetera, that he came to London with a view to kill somebody to go back to jail. I met him in a bar. We became friends. And in the next three days, we decided to invite him to our home for dinner. And on that particular evening, he asked me to make a phone call. In those days, it was 1987…mobile phones were built like a brick. And nobody had any because you couldn’t afford them.
 
And also at the time we’d just moved to our new house and we didn’t, we weren’t on the phone. So I had to go to use a red phone box, which I did. I didn’t realise at the time, he gave me a false name and false number to ring. And it was that point in, in, in the evening when I tried ringing the person he gave me the phone number for, I realised something was drastically wrong. And by the time I reached the end of my street, I, all I could see was police lights and cars trained on what I thought was my neighbour’s house. In actual fact it was mine. And as I ran jumping fences and fences because I didn’t know what was going on, I was panicking. And the nearer and nearer I got, I realised that it was my, my house. And I rapidly approached the door and was knocked back the police and pinned to the ground.
 
How awful.
 
And at that point I was screaming, I didn’t know what had gone on. And all the neighbours were out in the streets. And I was taken into the back of a police car and arrested at that point. It, it was a matter of minutes.
 
And it was during… on the, the enormous journey back from the property in south London to the nearest police station, we were doing over a hundred miles an hour. And on the radio, the police radio, they said, “Slow down it’s ok, we’ve, we’ve got the man”. There was a lot more stronger words were said than that.
 
But they said, “Slow down we’ve already got him but we’ve got to keep Marcus in custody”.
 
So you were a suspect to start with?
 
Yes I was charged.
 
But it wasn’t until we got back to the police station, about an hour and half later, that … I was stripped and given a paper suit. I still… nobody’s…nobody told me why. And I was asking what had happened all the time. And they said, “We can’t tell you”. And eventually they got me into a room, out of the cell and they said, “We got some bad news for you, your wife’s dead”. And I said, “Well that’s ok because I’m not married”. But we both wore wedding rings because we couldn’t afford to get married. So we both wore wedding rings and pretended. And he said, he gave my fiancé’s name and he just said, “She died an hour ago”.
 
And I said, “She can’t be dead because I only left her an hour ago”.
 
So I was in total shock. And then I was sedated by the police surgeon. And I woke up the next morning thinking it was a bad dream.

For example, Alison's estranged husband had killed two of their children after they had had a violent argument. Some of the killers were ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends. Angela talked about her cousin, who lived in Jamaica and who had been murdered by her boyfriend. She also talked about her UK friend whose grandson had stabbed her to death.

 
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Angela had recently lost a cousin and a friend through homicide. These two deaths devastated her....

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Age at interview: 44
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Yes it was in January of this year. I’m not sure exactly what happened but as I’ve been told her boyfriend had attacked her [Angela’s cousin] with a machete and she was found, because she was found because at that time she was looking after a little girl, and the little girl was in the house crying and the neighbours noticed that this girl had been crying for a number of hours, if not even a day or so, and they went to investigate and they found my cousin on the on the floor, with a massive head injury, the coroner said had she received help a lot earlier, she would’ve survived, but she basically bled to death leaving three children, the youngest of whom is 15. Well it’s still traumatic.
 
You said somebody else, a friend of yours died?
 
A friend of mine,
 
Was that in this country?
 
Yes, a friend of mine that I’d met about five and a half years ago now, six years ago, I met this woman. She had lost her son, which, who had been murdered, and because of the nature of the work that we do she was a keen, anti-gun and anti-violence campaigner and that’s how we met. And she had such a warming personality that I don’t think I’ve come across anybody that has or will say something negative about this individual.
 
And I was at work, in June, and I received a call from a friend, and I couldn’t even understand what my friend was saying, she was so distraught. So that, immediately kind of like you know panicked me a little bit, and like, “What, what, what, what, what.” She couldn’t get her words out so I decided to wait until she could, so instead of saying “What, what, what”, because it just didn’t make any sense, I waited and after a while she just said that our friend had been murdered.
 
What a terrible shock.
 
She’d been found stabbed and she had been murdered by her grandson.
 
Her grandson?
 
And it just didn’t ring, it just didn’t ring true, I don’t know. And I was in this little office at work because I take my private calls somewhere else, and before I could even realise it I was just wailing.
 
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Carole's son was stabbed by his ex-girlfriend, who was jealous of a new relationship. A police...

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Age at interview: 59
Sex: Female
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I was working on November 30th and my line manager came and asked me to go into the office, there was a police officer wanting to speak to me and a WPC. I just felt sick, I said, “What has happened?” and in my mind I knew it was my son. I went into the office and it was a PC who I knew who was known to our family that, as a friend. And he just said, “I hate to break this news to you,” and he told us that our, well our son had been killed. Our son was at the other end of the country, he was in the forces, but the incident had nothing at all to do with the forces. I heard he’d been stabbed by a female and I knew straight away who it would be. It was an ex girl friend who was very jealous, who would not let him go, our son was at his happiest, he had a new girlfriend and everything was going very well for him, but he’d almost been stalked by this person. I knew my husband would be collecting me from work within about the next half hour so I explained this to the police. I just wanted to be in another world.
 
The police went outside to meet my husband and I was afraid what was going to happen when we told him. Anyway we told my husband and the reaction was as I anticipated. I rang my daughter from the office that I was in. How I was able to do that I don’t know but I just rang her and asked if she could go home, we just wanted to see her at home.
 
What was your husband’s reaction? You said it was as you anticipated.
 
He just went white, his head in his hands, and I think we stayed strong for each other, and knowing that we had our daughter. I think if it had just been me on my own I would have just, just collapsed. And legs just went to jelly, it was just surreal.
 
Awful.
 
And we got home and our daughter came home and she knew straight away when she saw the police also. She did know the police officer, and my reaction then was how was I going to tell my father? My father was 88 years of age. Very, very close to our son. Our son had been at war. He’d written to him religiously as our son had written to him. And it was odd really because our son had spent a couple of hours with his granddad two days prior to this incident.
 
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Julie’s sister, Shirley, was stabbed to death in her own home by an ex-boyfriend, who had beaten...

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Age at interview: 38
Sex: Female
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My sister, she was murdered by her ex-partner, two months after her birthday. He beat her up on her birthday, fracturing her cheek in two places and was sent to prison twice and kept getting let out on bail and kept harassing her. And then the last time he got let out on bail, we don’t know whether, it, he says my sister let him back in the house but my nephew said that he didn’t, he didn’t know he were there. And he stabbed her in her carotid artery and she bled to death.
 
Which year was this?
 
It was the 11th September 2006.
 
It happened at tea, round tea-time-ish but they didn’t get in touch with anybody because obviously they didn’t know any details or anything. They came to the house, the police, and my husband and myself was out and my son kept ringing me, so when I finally answered the phone, I said to him, “What do you want?” He said, “The police are here. They’ve been twice.” “What have you done?” And he were like, “We haven’t done nothing mum. It’s you they want to see.”
 
And we were sat in the car, the car and my husband and myself were saying what kind of act, you know, “I wonder what the police want.” And I said, “Oh it might be my mum” because we’d just dropped her off in Birmingham to her, to her friend’s the night before. And my husband said, “It’s Shirley.” He just knew it was my sister even before anybody told us. He just knew it was her. And when we got home he sent the children out. They were all obviously, they were concerned they wanted to know why the police was here.
 
Yes, of course.
 
And the officer sent them back out and he told us. And because I was crying and screaming, the children come running in and they wanted know what was up.
 
So then they was all crying then and it was quite difficult. And then my next concern was my sister’s son. So where is he?
 
You know what’s … well first of all I wanted to know what had happened to her. And he just said, “I can’t divulge that but we think she’s been murdered.” 
 
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Linda’s son, Kevin, was stabbed to death by his sister’s ex-boyfriend. Linda heard what had had...

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Age at interview: 52
Sex: Female
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Yes it was September 2007, my eldest son, who was 27 was at his workplace, there’d been a disagreement with my youngest daughter and her boyfriend that she hadn’t been with for a couple of weeks. She wanted some stuff out of his house. He was being very rude and wasn’t going to let her have it so she did what I think most young sisters do, she called on her brother for help, with absolutely disastrous effects because basically the ex-boyfriend went to my son’s place of work all ready with a knife in his pocket that was ready to use. In my eyes he had full intention to do what he did and he went there and that’s exactly what he did. And a small disagreement ensued. My son was trying to tell him to just leave my daughter alone and give her a break. You know, if it was the constant texting and phone calls that were going on that he’d get her a new sim card...
 
…and then that would be the end of it.  But the person just lunged at him basically, stabbed him straight through the heart.
 
How awful.
 
He didn’t realise himself that he’d been stabbed at first. He was running round at work but within minutes he’d collapsed.
 
And an ambulance was called and he taken to our local general hospital. He put up a terrific fight. They resuscitated him ten times, but he was a very fit person.
 
But not meant to be. And he died five hours later.
 
I’m so sorry.
 
So…
 
How did you first hear about it?
 
I’d heard first thing in the morning. Funnily enough, when my daughter had come in and she’d, she’d run to me on a Saturday and said, “Mum, you know, my ex is on his way to Kevin’s workplace”. I then rang him and he said he was fine and not to worry and nothing was going to happen and that if he did turn up he would talk him out of it…
 
…and, you know, try and soothe things out and  that’s where it went from there. So I rang him. He said everything was okay. I think I’ve just repeated that, haven’t I? And put the phone down. And then literally two minutes later the mobile rang again and Kevin’s name come up and I thought everything was fine and it was his workmate and he’d said that Kevin had in those minutes just been stabbed.
 
And I rushed down there with my daughter, it took us about, because it was a Saturday morning, it took us a good 15, 20 minutes to get down there. The ambulances were there. Kevin was already in the ambulance. They wouldn’t let us in. They didn’t give us any information. All we could do was follow the ambulance to the hospital, which we did. I super-glued my bumper to their bumper …
 
…so that I didn’t miss them through any lights or roundabouts and made our way to the hospital where we had to wait in the family room  while we were given, you know, various progress points that started off, not very good odds. And the odds didn’t change. And went worse and worse and worse until eventually he couldn’t be saved and he died.

Last reviewed October 2015.
Last updated October 2015.

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