Express & Star

'For the Streets, With the Streets, By the Streets' – Call for action issued in wake of teenager's murder

A Wolverhampton born karate star turned youth and sport advocate has issued a 'call for action' in the wake of the case of murdered teenager Shawn Seesahai. Professor Geoff Thompson MBE wants part of the legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to be greater engagement with youngsters who have become embroiled in the 'social media age.' Paul Jenkins spoke to him.

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When Geoff Thompson speaks, people listen. He is eloquent, passionate about his work and determined to turn around or at least address directly the statistic which shows the West Midlands has the highest rate of offences involving a blade in England and Wales, including London.

It was magnified in the wake of the conviction on Monday of two 12-year-olds for the killing of Shawn Seesahai who was stabbed to death near Bilston last year – they were the youngest people to be convicted of murder in the UK since the killers of James Bulger in 1993.

Shawn Seesahai who was murdered by two 12-year-olds who were convicted at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday. Former karate star, MBE and sport advocate Geoff Thompson has issued a 'call for action' in the wake of his death and the conviciton.

Also in 1993, Mr Thompson, a five time karate world champion, helped launch the Youth Charter in Greater Manchester as part of the city's 2000 Olympics bid and that of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Over the last 31 years the Youth Charter has successfully campaigned, advocated and promoted the role and value of sport, art, culture and digital technology in the lives of disaffected young people from disadvantaged communities nationally and internationally.

At the time of its launch, Manchester was christened 'Gunchester' in the wake of the killing of 14-year-old Benji Stanley in Moss Side.

Fast forward to 2024 and it is the West Midlands with the unwanted reputation of being the capital for knife crime, something Geoff is keen to reverse – not in the future, but now.

The legacy of the 2022 Birmingham games where he was deputy chair of the organising committee saw a £100m surplus which has already been used on initiatives around tourism in the region and providing employability skills for youngsters.

Wolverhampton born Geoff Thompson
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