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'We can't rest until we have justice': Ryan Passey's father on landmark legal bid

By Jordan Reynolds | Stourbridge | Features | Published:

Two and a half years on from the death of his son, Adrian Passey is more determined than ever to keep the family’s fight for justice in the spotlight.

Father of murder victim Ryan Passey, Adrian, centre, with, right, private investigator Russ Winfield and, left, campaign head Jason Connon

“It’s changed our lives forever, every single day.”

These are the words of a man who lost his only child after he was stabbed while on a night out in Stourbridge.

Adrian Passey’s life was changed for ever in August 2017 when he received the call telling him his 24-year-old son Ryan died after being stabbed in Chicago’s nightclub.

Ryan’s family will share their heartbreaking story in an emotional video in the coming days as they step up their battle for a landmark legal challenge.

Ryan Passey

Ryan, from Brierley Hill, was a keen football player who also ran his own window cleaning business.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral service in September 2017 and tributes came from both his family and friends.

Now two-and-a-half years later Mr Passey says he cannot begin the grieving process until someone is held responsible for Ryan’s death.

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The town was rocked by the fatal stabbing of Ryan Passey

In February 2018 Kobe Murray was found not guilty of the murder and manslaughter following a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mr Murray told the court he had a knife in his hand and “pushed out” to fend off an attack – accidentally stabbing Mr Passey.

He also said the knife had belonged to a friend.

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Since his death Ryan’s family and friends set up the Justice for Ryan campaign – calling for a change in the law.

The family want juries to give reasons on how they have reached their decisions so they can be challenged and families be given the right to appeal against acquittals that are considered “perverse” in serious criminal cases.

Adrian Passey, in the video clips, recalls the night he was told Ryan had been stabbed, and later died.

People attend a vigil for Ryan Passey in 2017

The video has been filmed in the hope that new evidence surrounding Ryan’s death may be brought to light in the family’s bid for justice.

And to date, more than 46,000 people have signed an online petition for the law change – but it needs 100,000 signatures to be discussed in Parliament.

Jason Connon, family friend and spokesman for Justice for Ryan, said: “The public have been fantastic, but Stourbridge is a little town, we need our story to go national.

"You see daily in newspapers and on TV that more and more people are being affected by knife crime.

“We’d like a review into knife crime and the devastating effects is has on families and their victims, then put procedures in place following the review.

“We want tougher self defence laws around knife crime. We want juries to give reasons for their decisions, they have to in other countries.

Ryan Passey died after being stabbed on a night out in Stourbridge

"And we want people to see the real impact that knife crime causes and for people to put the knives down.”

Now two private investigators have been hired to work with the family.

He said the family have also sought more information about the investigation and are awaiting a response from the police.

Mr Passey said: “It’s changed our lives forever, every single day, going shopping, you would normally get things for your child, doing his washing, everything.

“The main priority now is somebody coming forward with more information.”

Mr Connon added: “Adrian hasn’t been able to grieve properly, Ryan’s ashes are still at home.”

Chicago’s shut in February 2018 after more than 3,500 people signed a petition calling for its closure but has since reopened with the new name Soda Lounge.

The memorial plaque outside the new Soda Lounge club venue

At the time of its closure bosses at the Ryemarket venue said it was being shut down with immediate effect because they had been blamed for Ryan’s death – and denied being at fault.

The new owners have agreed to implement stringent security measures and to omit a dedicated dance floor.

Mr Connon said the family will not be going into the nightclub but “don’t want to see any business fail”.

A plaque was unveiled in November outside the club, which his parents said they hoped would make young club-goers think twice before carrying a knife.

Adrian Passey joined Ryan's mother Gillian Taylor and Ryan's stepfather Phil Taylor to reveal the plaque

And in September, the family joined the relatives of Reagan Asbury, knifed to death after a boxing event in in Walsall last year, and James Brindley, fatally stabbed in Aldridge, in 2017, and took part in a march as part of a Tackling Knife Crime Together event.

An annual ride-out was launched after Ryan’s death, which has seen hundreds of motorcyclists take part both in 2018 and last year.

The event is held to raise funds to keep the campaign running, and Mr Connon said it still needs more to cover all the costs.

To sign the petition, visit change.org/p/justice-for-ryan-ryan-s-law or to find out more about the campaign visit justiceforryan.org/

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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