The shocking after effects of knife crime

With numbers of knife crime at a three year high in Canterbury, Sean McPolin finds out the horrific aftermath for families of knife crime victims.

18th May 2018

Every mother's fear is to hear their child has died, and that was the reality for Kent mums June Sadler and Sally Devlin who lost their daughter and son to a vicious knife attack from a Canterbury thug.

June's 40-year-old daughter Natasha and her 48-year-old friend Simon Gorecki, Sally's son, were murdered by knife crime thug Foster Christian in 2016.

Christian, who was the housemate of Mr Gorecki at the time, stabbed his flatmate five times, one which punctured his lung, and then attacked and murdered his girlfriend Natasha - stabbing her in the heart and then the head.

Natasha Sadler's two sons were also left wounded by the murdered, as they attempted to help their mother. June Sadler spoke of their worry that eldest son Connaugh, who was stabbed, would not make it after having his bowel ripped open.

He should be hung for what he did.

— June Sadler
Sally Devlin, Simon Gorecki's mother.

June, whose life has completely changed since the murder of her daughter, thinks that the punishment for 'monster' Foster Christian is fare too lenient.

She said: "I blame a lot of this on the judges, because they dish out these lenient sentences for a license to go and do it again. They're to soft on them. For what he did, he should be hung for what he did. Capital punishment should be reinstated and he should be hung for his crimes. He's smashed our lives to pieces. Absolutely smashed our lives to pieces.

"30 years. To not serve less than 30 years. There's no way that thing would walk out while I'm alive."

The NHS worker said the damage that the murder of Natasha and Simon is indescribable.

She said: "It's just smashed our lives to pieces. I mean you can't begin to describe what it's done. It's just so, so horrendous. Don't forget two of my grandsons were badly injured. We thought we'd lose one of them that night as well. He had his bowel ripped open and he nearly died, the other one was slashed through the arm. It's affected us all, but my grandson who nearly died is a shadow of himself now. He doesn't socialise, he doesn't go out."

June was adamant that not enough is being done by authorities to reduce or stop knife crime, not only in the county, but nationwide.

She said: "My god, they're [knives] are so readily available. It just seems to be a trend now. You hear of all this and it's absolutely shocking. Do they think it's clever? Do they think it's big? I mean why do they do this? It's just horrendous. I don't think there's strict punishments."

Sally Devlin was another mother who tragically lost her son in March 2016. Sally compared the pain of losing her 'kind, fun and compassionate' son as a nuclear bomb going off.

She said: "It was a bit like a nuclear bomb going off in the middle of us and it has the same sort of effect. The effects just go on and on and on. It's the shock and horror off it.

"The shock lasts for months. I think we were all incapable of being incapable of being particularly supportive to one another because we could barely get from one minute to the next ourselves. That had quite an impact on us as a family, which last for quite a long time."

Ever since Sally's son was brutally murdered her life was changed for ever, and the thought of her son laying alone waiting to die is something that will 'haunt her' forever.

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Is knife crime a nationwide problem?

Kent's Police Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, doesn't think the county has a problem with knife crime, but admits there has been a rise in knife and gun crimes figures.

He said: "I think we have seen some evidence to suggest that is. Crime and anti-social behaviour across the country is down, but as we are seeing with some of these incidents there are some increases as well.

"So we’re not complacent about that. Kent Police is targeting violent crime, and I’ll also be announcing in the next couple of weeks a new violence reduction challenge whereby we’ll bringing everybody together in order to understand the reasons why and what we can all do together with partner organisations together to tackle it."

Matthew Scott, Kent Police Crime Commissioner

The Police Crime Commissioner mentioned how Kent Police are targeting violent crime, and he is soon introducing a new violence reduction challenge, working with partner organisations.

Despite a rise in statistics, Mr. Scott doesn’t think there is a ‘problem’ in Kent.

“We do have particular hotspots within the county, I don’t wish to say that we have a problem with knife and gun crime in the county. I think we do have issues with increasing offences.

“But Kent is generally a safe place to live. We’ve seen crime falling, anti-social behaviour falling, but what we have to deal with is the challenge of gangs and organised groups coming out of London who are being more violent, who are being more vicious and encouraging young people to get caught up in these issues.”

Knife crime, as with all crimes involving murder not only take the lives of people, but the crush the lives of their loved one. Mrs Sadler and Mrs Devlin have had their worlds torn apart by a thug who will likely spend the remainder of his life in prison. However, the thirty years of his life the judge took away is incomparable to the two lives these poor women and their families have lost.

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