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'It broke us all': Ryan Passey's family focused on justice 10 months after stabbing

By Alex Ross | Stourbridge | Crime | Published:

The heartbroken family of Ryan Passey remember the devastating night of his death and tell why they are continuing to campaign in his honour.

Campaign – Father Ada, mother Gill and stepfather Phil with a photograph of Ryan Passey

He was a darling of the community – a young, ambitious businessman who had his whole life ahead of him.

Ryan Passey had his family, girlfriend, friends, his own business and money saved for a home of his own.

But the 24-year-old’s life was tragically cut short during a night out with friends in Stourbridge last August.

WATCH: Ryan's family recall harrowing trial

Ryan Passey murder: Family focused on justice

What exactly happened in Chicago’s nightclub is still a mystery.

But what is known is that there was a fracas and Ryan suffered a fatal wound to the chest.

'It broke us all'

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His heartbroken family remember the moment they found out.

Ryan was stabbed in Chicago's nightclub in Stourbridge on August 6 last year

“A friend of my daughter’s came running to the house and started banging on the door,” said Ryan’s stepfather Phil Taylor.

“He said someone had been stabbed and, they thought it was Ryan, I got straight on the phone and called Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley.

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"I then found out he was at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and we raced up to the hospital. When we arrived they took us to a room and broke the news. It broke us all.”

Tributes

A packed funeral service was held at St James’s Church in Wollaston, Stourbridge.

Hundreds turned out, including many of his former teammates from Stourbridge and Wrens Nest football clubs.

Ryan's mother Gillian said she couldn't have asked for a better child

Touching tributes were made by those close to him before a solemn gathering at the Raven Pub, in Brierley Hill – a pub Ryan went to on the night he died.

Speaking from her home in Brierley Hill this week, mother Gillian Taylor, aged 52, said: “You just loved being in his company, you were in awe of him, he was laughing and smiling, always joking.

“Everyone he spoke to he made friends with – you couldn’t ask for a better child.

“He saved too, he was going to buy his own house. He never bought any trouble.”

Ryan, in gold, playing football for Wrens Nest

Phil, 51, said: “We’ve had that many well-wishers, letters from people we didn’t know, people who knew Ryan.

“It’s made us proud as parents, us three (Phil, Gill and father Ada).”

Ada, 54, said: “Ryan was so popular, he had so many friends, but because of that it has helped us all pull together and move forward.”

Trial

Following Ryan’s death, 19-year-old Kobe Murray was arrested and later charged with murder and manslaughter.

A two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court took place in January.

It ended with a jury finding Mr Murray, of The Broadway, Dudley, not guilty of both charges.

A mass of tributes were left for Ryan outside Chicago's in Ryemarket after the stabbing

Mr Murray admitted stabbing Ryan but said it happened accidentally as he went to push him away.

He also said the knife had belonged to a friend.

Since the ruling, Stourbridge MP Margot James has written to the Government’s Attorney General over the case.

Campaign

The family of Ryan has also launched a campaign which is called Justice For Ryan.

It is calling for a change in law to allow for victims and their families to challenge a jury’s decision on an acquittal.

Ryan aged around 14 with his then football team Glazebrook Gunners

“It is the only thing which is keeping us sane,” said Phil.

“We believe it is wrong how a person convicted can appeal, but then a victim cannot make an appeal.

“It is not just for us, it is also for everyone that finds themselves in the same situation as us.

“We believe it would maintain public confidence in our criminal justice system.”

Protest

The family attended an anti-knife demonstration outside Downing Street earlier this month.

“Along with families of other knife victims, they laid down shoes belonging to Ryan to protest against knife crime.

The protest was arranged to demand justice for victims and stronger sentences for offenders.

Phil said: “We’ve only been able to do this with the support of the local community.

“A lot of people didn’t even know Ryan, but the amount of love that’s been shown has been overwhelming, it’s that which has kept us all going.”

The family of Ryan have launched a petition as part of their campaign. If it gets the support of 100,000 signatures, it will be debated in Parliament.

People can sign it by visiting www.change.org/p/justice-for-ryan-ryan-s-law

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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