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'I want justice for my Reagan': Heartbroken mother fights back tears as verdict rocks family

By Alex Ross | Pelsall | Crime | Published:

‘A paramedic looked at me – the look a mum would give to another mum, I knew it was bad then’.

Reagan’s mother Helen Kirwan has told of the devastating loss of her son and the family’s fresh fight for justice

Fighting back tears Reagan Asbury’s heartbroken mother has spoken publicly for the first time since her young son was stabbed to death as trouble broke out after a boxing match in the Black Country.

Helen Kirwan and the rest of the family were hoping to raise a glass to seeing justice done for 19-year-old Reagan following the trial of his killer Tyrone Andrew.

But the jury cleared the 22-year-old drug dealer of murder, instead finding him guilty of manslaughter. Andrew was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He could be out in seven years.

WATCH: Reagan's family speak out

Reagan Asbury: Family call for justice

As she leafed through treasured framed photographs of Reagan as a young footballer and hugging his girlfriend his mother was clearly finding it difficult to speak about her loss.

Rocked

The verdict has rocked Reagan’s family – including his father Julian and sisters Elysia and Fharen – who had all been expecting a sentence of at least 25 years.

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His determined mother says the fight for justice now goes on for her son – a former Ormiston Shelfield Academy pupil – who was knifed in the neck from behind as he left the bout at Walsall Town Hall.

Reagan was 19 when he was killed

She and her family now want a change of law to allow an appeal against the jury’s decision to clear killer Andrew of murder.

The 48-year-old, said: “Something went seriously wrong.”

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Mum Helen with Reagan's sisters Elysia and Fharan

She added: “After the trial I thought we were going to have a drink for Reagan, still sad, but knowing we got justice for Reagan.

"But this isn’t justice for Reagan. We are all overwhelmed. He admitted putting the knife in Reagan’s neck. Reagan had his back turned. He [Andrew] wasn’t threatened at all.”

Last sight of son

Miss Kirwan last saw her son alive, leaving their Pelsall home on his way to watch the boxing match featuring local fighter Luke Paddock.

But when trouble erupted between Paddock and opposing fighter Derby-based Tyrone Mills’s fans, the former Pelsall United player found himself walking through on October 14 last year.

Photos of Reagan at the family home in Pelsall

A seven-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court saw chilling footage of Andrew creeping up behind his victim ‘like an animal stalking prey’ before knifing him in the neck.

Reagan’s mother received a call from her sister, also at the event, that her son was hurt.

She rushed to the scene with Julian.

Flowers left in tribute to Reagan outside Walsall Town Hall

She said: “I did think he was hurt, but not in that way and when I got there they [paramedics] were already working on him. The paramedics did that much CPR it was unreal.

"A paramedic looked at me – the look a mum would give to another mum, I knew it was bad then.”

She added: “God must have taken him – he got taken out of life so quickly.”

No chance for appeal

The jury in the trial cleared Andrew, of St Helen’s Street, of murder after deliberating for 37 hours.

They had heard claims from Andrew, who fled the country after the attack, that he was acting in self-defence while trying to get away from a ‘racist mob’.

Tyrone Andrew - cleared of murder but guilty of manslaughter

Reagan’s sister Elysia, 24, said: “We want the right to appeal for a retrial.

"We genuinely thought, because of knife crime going up, that the case would make an example, we thought we would be walking out that court room with him (Andrew) getting at least a 25-year sentence. Not that he would out in seven years.”

Under current law, convicted offenders can appeal over jury’s rulings and sentences, but victims and their families cannot.

This week’s ruling mirrors the recent court case following the stabbing of Ryan Passey in Stourbridge.

Kobe Murray was cleared of murdering the 24-year-old by a jury, prompting a petition by Mr Passey’s family for a chance to appeal.

Elysia said: “Something has got to change. We walked away from that court and I said that can’t be the end of it. It isn’t fair.”

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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