Five years on: Ryan Passey's family are still seeking justice

Saturday, August 6, marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic death of Ryan Passey.

Ryan Passey
Ryan Passey

The popular 24-year-old footballer from Quarry Bank was out with friends in a Stourbridge nightspot when he was stabbed to death.

Six months later a trial lasting eight days took place at Birmingham Crown Court.

The jury heard that Kobe Murray, who was 19 at the time, admit to stabbing unarmed Ryan through the heart with a flick knife during a dance floor brawl in Chicago's.

Murray told the court the stabbing was an "accident" and that he had acted in self-defence while holding a weapon he had taken from a friend.

Despite the trial exposing how he had lied to police, he walked free from court after being acquitted of both murder and manslaughter.

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The verdict shocked Ryan's devastated family and friends, and sparked a campaign for justice that goes on to the day.

The past 12 months has seen a number of significant developments in their battle.

After pushing for more than a year, the campaign succeeded in getting West Midlands Police to agree to an independent review into the initial investigation of Ryan's death.

Family friend Jason Connon, Ryan Passey's mother Gill and father Ade outside Lloyds House in Birmingham - the headquarters of West Midlands Police

The review, which is being handled by West Yorkshire Police, is ongoing and an update is expected in the coming weeks.

Another significant move saw Ryan's family win a civil case against Kobe Murray, who is now known as Kareem Gayle.

It came after the family pursued legal action claiming Ryan had been unlawfully killed.

A judge at Liverpool Civil and Family Court agreed, and awarded almost £10,000 in damages, and also ruled the defendant must pay more than £12,000 in court costs.

The family has recently contacted the High Court to instruct court bailiffs to collect the damages.

The family also recently hit a milestone in their bid for greater support to victims in serious crime cases where an acquittal verdict is given.

Ryan Passey was aged 24 when he was stabbed to death

After putting their demands to a minister following an intervention by Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb, who is backing their campaign, they met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the campaign.

A statement from the Justice For Ryan campaign, said August 6 marked "five very hard and painful years for Ryan’s parents, family and friends since losing Ryan".

It continues: "Even more so following the unimaginable acquittal decision Ryan’s family suffered. A decision we all know is completely wrong and one that we must fight on to correct.

"We have come a long way in our fight for Justice For Ryan and we will never rest until Justice is finally served.

"Last November we won our civil case, with the judge ruling that Kobe Murray, who has now changed his name to Kareem Gayle, unlawfully killed Ryan.

Ryan's mother Gillian Taylor at the unveiling of a plaque outside the former Chicago's club in Stourbridge

"We currently have West Yorkshire Police reviewing the original police investigation and we will be meeting them again in September for a further update.

"We recently travelled to Parliament to meet with the Justice Minister and also got the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just before he resigned.

"We also have other things going on at present which we are not able to disclose publicly just yet, but what I can say is that we promised that day in court, that we would fight on for Justice For Ryan and that is what we are continuing to do.

"We are confident that justice will be done."

Events to mark the anniversary include a ride-out from The Widders pub in Cradley to Quatt Bike Café in Bridgnorth.

Meanwhile a number of local football teams will be holding a minute's applause in Ryan's honour.

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