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Editor’s comment: Scourge of knife crime needs tackling

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 December 2017

Ricky Hayden's sister April and mother Suzanne Hedges by Ricky's memorial bench at the Forest Park Crematorium

Ricky Hayden's sister April and mother Suzanne Hedges by Ricky's memorial bench at the Forest Park Crematorium

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Our investigations team, led by the award-winning Emma Youle, have launched a knife crime awareness campaign.

Figures uncovered by both Emma and senior news features writer Beth Wyatt show the problem has grown significantly in Havering in recent times.

And, as is sadly so often the case, it is the borough’s young people who are by far the most at risk.

Last month I covered the trial of two young men from Romford accused of murdering Dagenham 20-year-old Hosam Eisa during a knife fight in The Brewery Shopping Centre’s car park.

As the trial wore on, a sad picture began to emerge of a gang culture where knife carrying had become the norm, and where something as minor as an alleged dirty look can lead to a sudden and fatal outburst of violence.

In that case, Hosam himself was also armed, and the jury clearly believed the two defendants had been acting in self-defence. They walked free.

But Hosam still died, and from a bystanders point of view it seems no one has been held accountable.

I can’t even imagine how Ricky Hayden’s family feel, except to think that when they tell the Recorder, “there has been no justice,” they are putting it mildly.

The 20-year-old who killed their son, brother and uncle was found not guilty of murder, but was imprisoned instead for manslaughter charges.

And yet, they still open their newspapers every week and read yet more stories of young men stabbing each other, often fatally.

It is a problem that the police have tried to crack down on, as best they can.

As part of our campaign, we have interviewed one of the lead officers of Operation Sceptre, the Met’s anti-knife initiative. Keep your eyes on our paper in the coming weeks to learn more.

And maybe, just maybe, we can start to reassure shattered families like the Haydens that things will get better.

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