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Candlelight vigil to be held three years to the day after 14-year-old was fatally stabbed

A candlelit vigil is being held three years to the day after 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was stabbed to death.

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Dea-John Reid

On Friday, May 31, at 6.30pm on College Road, Kingstanding, family, friends, religious leaders, politicians, police officers and those touched by his death will congregate for speeches, songs and a candlelight vigil.

On May 31, 2021, Bearwood schoolboy Dea-John was chased by a group of youngsters and men through the streets of Kingstanding before being killed by a single stab wound to the heart.

At the subsequent murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court five men and boys, one from Wolverhampton, were found not guilty of joint enterprise to murder. A 15-year-old was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter after the jury watched CCTV of the fatal blow to Dea-John.

The Birmingham Crown Court jury consisted of 11 white members, which Dea-John's family and advisor Bishop Desmond Jaddoo believes affected the verdict.

Joan Morris, mother of Dea-John Reid: “Upon reflection, I will never see Dea-John become a footballer or the dentist that he dreamed of, nor see Dea-John get engaged and married, nor see Dea-John have children, nor his own home or even just simply have a conversation with him face-to-face.

"The final act of love I could show to my son was to ensure he had the send-off which he deserved. Whilst members of the perpetrator’s family will be able to visit their loved one and eventually see him released back in the community, my only visit to Dea-John is to a grave in a cemetery.”

She added: “He was hunted by a lynch mob, reminiscent of a scene from Mississippi Burning, being called a 'n*****' and as evidence was given a 'black b******' and 'bang him out'.”

“A jury that was not reflective of Birmingham, who bought the stories given by the defendants in this case and delivered a verdict against this young man in the dock of merely manslaughter.”

The campaign is now receiving support from the University of Birmingham.

Chair of the campaign Bishop Dr. Desmond Jaddoo MBE said: ”Whilst we give thanks and commemorate the life of 14-year-old Dea-John Reid, we must not forget the abuse and injustice that he has suffered. As we have now entered a General Election campaign, we must ensure that zero tolerance in terms of racial discrimination is a priority, whilst we seek reformation of the criminal justice system in order to balance the scales of justice.

"An incoming government will be made aware that we no longer want any further reports but solid government action to deal with the injustices in the killing of 14 year old Dea-John Reid; whilst we continue to comfort and support his family in their quest for justice and is his death will and must not be in vain.”

The vigil is being held the day after the Kingstanding by-election which was sparked when the ward's Conservative Councillor Rick Payne resigned from Birmingham City Council after a slew of racist and vile tweets were released by anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate.

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