Express & Star

Stabbing victim Natalie Queiroz leads campaign warning pupils over the dangers of knives

A woman who was stabbed 24 times by her former partner while she was eight months' pregnant spoke to pupils at a Wolverhampton school about her ordeal as she urged them never to carry knives.

Natalie Queiroz speaks to pupils at Our Lady and St Chad's School

Natalie Queiroz was left fighting for her life but somehow both she and her unborn baby survived the frenzied broad daylight attack by Babur Karamat Raja, who was armed with a 12-inch carving knife.

She faced a long road to recovery and was forced to rebuild her life after the senseless attack which came without warning in a Sutton Coldfield street.

Ms Queiroz has since set up a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on talking to children and young adults about the dangers of carrying knives.

She took her Inspire 2 Quit Blades sessions to Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy in Low Hill about her attack and her subsequent efforts to rebuild her life.

It comes after recent figures showed knife crime had reached record levels in the West Midlands during 2019. Police chiefs are keen to get the message across the schoolchildren about the dangers of knives in the hope of making them think twice about arming themselves and becoming involved in gangs.

Ms Queiroz said: “The purpose of the Inspire 2 Quit Blades project is to talk about the enormous damage carrying a knife can do.

"Facing young people with an actual victim, they can see and hear for themselves first-hand just how horrific the injuries can be, how so many factors could mean a fatal outcome and hopefully overcome any potential desensitisation our younger generation may have to the issues of knife crime through media around them.

"It also empowers young people to make positive choices about their own lives, no matter what their background is and live a life without the need to carry a knife.

"We have to inform, educate and most importantly support our younger generation. Our key aim is to make youngsters change their mind set about carrying a knife and to act as an ambassador to their peer groups about the true reality and shame of knife crime.”

Deputy West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie, who attended the event, said: “Natalie is truly an inspiring speaker and speaks from her unimaginable experiences which clearly has an effect on the young people she meets.

"I am delighted we have been able to support her work through the Active Citizens Fund with money taken from the proceeds of crime. I’m sure that not only the youngsters, but the public at large would agree that this extremely thought provoking project is well worth supporting from funds such as this.”

Raja after trying to murder his pregnant partner Natalie by stabbing her in the street in March 2016.

Raja’s own barrister said his conservative Muslim mother ‘literally drove him mad’ in the run up to the attack by forcing him to choose between her love and that of his partner, Ms Queiroz. Her baby survived.