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WATCH: Family of murdered James Brindley speak out on knife crime scourge

By Liam Keen | Aldridge | Crime | Published:

The parents of James Brindley, who was stabbed to death by a stranger as he walked home, are leading a new campaign.

James Brindley, left, was stabbed to death by a stranger in the street in Aldridge which left a community in mourning, bottom right. Now his parents, Beverley and Mark, top right, have joined a new anti-knife crime campaign

The parents of knife victim James Brindley are backing a police campaign urging parents to talk opening to their children about carrying deadly weapons.

Mark and Beverley Brindley's son was murdered on June 23, 2017, in Aldridge, after walking home from the pub, where he had met a friend and drank water.

He was confronted and killed by Ammar Kahrod, a 17-year-old student.

WATCH: James Brindley's parents relive horror over son's death

James Brindley's parents message to you about the impact of knives

James' family have since set up the James Brindley Foundation to keep his memory alive and to protect and support young people who are at risk of engaging in criminal behaviour.

Now, they are backing a police campaign to urge parents to speak to their children about the dangers and implications of carrying knives.

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A year on after calling on schools to have "heart-to-heart conversations" with children about knife crime, Chief Constable Dave Thompson and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson are extending this plea out to parents.

The last 12 months has seen three-quarters of the region's 200 secondary schools hold knife crime talks with pupils, reaching over 150,000 young people.

The force's #lifeorknife campaign is backed by the Brindley family, who have recorded a ‘how to have a conversation with your child about knife crime’ video which is being aired on Facebook and Twitter to help guide parents.

James’ father, Mark Brindley, he said: "Parents should be worried because if James’ murder highlights anything, it’s that it can happen to anybody, anywhere, at any time.

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A family photo of James

"Any parent who thinks that this can’t happen to their children is burying their head in the sand I’m afraid, nobody can take that attitude anymore, everyone has to take personal responsibility.

"Really fundamentally parents need to talk to their children and have those difficult conversations and they’ve got to be aware of whether their children are carrying knives when they leave their home.

"That is the most important role we ever have as a parent and we need to find the time to do it."

Alongside the 12-step guide for parents, a video has been released of James' parents talking about their experience in losing the 26-year-old.

In the video his mother Beverley, talks directly to pupils who feel they need to carry a knife.

She said: "Don’t do it.

"If you feel you need guidance and support in your life, there are plenty of people out there, including your own family and friends that you trust, that you can turn to get the help that you need.

"Don’t be afraid to ask."

Trail of devastation

Today Chief Constable Dave Thompson and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson were set to visit Holte School in Birmingham to drive home the message.

Mr Thompson said: "We have been spending the last year talking to pupils in schools about knife crime.

"I want parents to have heart-to-heart conversations to really drive home the message that carrying weapons is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.

"We all feel the heartbreak of the loss of anyone so young - and a death at the hands of a knife is all the more traumatic and senseless.

"We have to be open and talk about the evil of knives and the trail of devastation they can cause. This can’t be done by anyone alone; we need schools, parents, police and all our other partners to play a part.

"By having conversations at an early age, both at school and home, about the awful consequences of carrying a knife this can impact on ways of thinking. It can stop someone from not only ruining their own but other lives.

"We will enforce the law to its fullest when anyone chooses to carry a knife, but we are determined to stop it even reaching that point. As adults we owe it to our young people to work with them to make them safe this summer."

James with his mother Beverley

Mr Jamieson called on parents to play their part in knowing where their children are over the summer and what they are doing.

He said: "A year ago the Chief Constable and I called on all secondary schools in our region to have a conversation with pupils about the dangers of knife crime.

"We are now asking parents to have that conversation with their children over the summer.

"To support we are rolling out sports and diversionary projects and I’d like to thank the Brindley family for producing a video to help parents have a conversation with your child about knife crime.

"Violent crime is a national emergency. Whilst robust policing has an important role, tackling the root causes of crime and the support of the whole community, including families is crucial if we are to address it."

WATCH: James' parents give their message on the image of knife crime

How to have a conversation with your child about knife crime

Holte School deputy head teacher Andy Oliver, said: "We are at the forefront of tackling knife crime and this has been recognised both locally and nationally.

"We go above and beyond in educating our pupils about the dangers of weapons and being as proactive as possible in ensuring the students do not get sucked into that way of life.

"Part of that commitment to our students is making sure that parents are supported and feel comfortable having these conversations, which can be difficult, with their children."

More information about knife crime and the #lifeorknife campaign can be found on the West Midlands Police website.

Anyone who suspects someone of carrying a knife is urged to report their concerns via Live Chat on the website, by calling 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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