NEWS: Shock verdict as all defendants found not guilty of murder in Dea John Reid trial

Words by Ed King

After three days of deliberation, the jury for the Dea John Reid murder trial delivered their verdict at Birmingham Crown Court today – finding all the defendants not guilty of murder and assisting an offender.

One of the minors accused of murder, the teenager that delivered the fatal blow, was found guilty of manslaughter, with sentencing set for 5 May.

With all five defendants accused of murder as a joint enterprise, once one verdict of not guilty was returned it paved the way for the rest to likewise be acquitted of murder.

Hollie Davis (36, Castle Bromwich) who had been on bail after being charged with assisting an offender, was also found not guilty.

The others found not guilty of any crime, including George Khan (39, Kingstanding) and Michael Shields (36, Castle Bromwich) – who had been remanded on custody since their arrest – would be back home as soon as the court could process the relevant paperwork for their release.

In a case that has gone on for almost a year, tears of relief were shed both inside and outside the courtroom as friends and family members of those accused had been waiting at Birmingham Crown Court since Monday to hear the jury’s verdict.

Dea John Reid was fatally stabbed on Collage Road in Kingstanding on 31 May 2021, following incidents earlier in the day where he and a group he was with had attempted to rob the minors eventually accused of his murder.

Throughout the trial, extensive CCTV footage had showed Dea John Reid and his group coming into Kingstanding from Perry Barr – including the moments when both groups had met and the attempted robbery had taken place.

If found guilty of murder, the adults accused could have spent the rest of their lives in prison – with a ‘whole life order’ as a possible starting point for sentencing. As minors, the teenagers accused could have faced custodial sentences of a minimum of 12 years before being eligible for parole.

Before the jury returned to deliver their verdict, the presiding judge – Mr Justice Johnson – asked members of the public present to “control themselves” as the court would not tolerate any “outbursts” once the verdict had been read.

Dressed in white shirts and black ties, George Khan and Michael Shields hung their heads and looked down at the floor upon hearing the verdict of not guilty – with both wiping tears of relief from their faces.

However, for Dea John Reid’s mother and brother, who were present in the courtroom as the jury delivered their verdict, the judgement was a bitter blow for a family that has suffered such a tragic loss – as no murder charge was upheld.

Dea John Reid’s family, accompanied by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, left Birmingham Crown Court calmly and quickly, and were initially unavailable for comment.

In a later statement, as the official family spokesperson, Bishop Jaddoo stated:

“Dea John was a well loved, brother and uncle. His family are mortified at the verdict and are of the opinion that is no justice for Dea John.

“The evidence clearly shows intent with a young man with a balaclava over his face and wearing a hood chasing Dea John with a knife and inflicting a stab wound to his (Dea John) chest and is not reflected in the jury’s decision.

“Many will say, where is the justice for Dea John.”

Bishop Jaddoo went on the say, on behalf of Dea John’s family, that whilst they were “mortified” with the verdict they wanted to thank West Midlands Police for the “support and the thorough investigation” they had conducted.

Kate Seal, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, stated: “I cannot begin to imagine the crippling sense of loss felt by Dea-John’s family and friends.

“The verdict of manslaughter will not undo the devastation felt by so many at the senseless loss of a young life.

“Such unnecessary violence has no place in our society and the death of Dea-John Reid should have never happened.

“The irrational use of violence that is now prevalent on our streets and in our communities must cease if we are to prevent further tragedies among our youth. While no verdict can return Dea-John to his family, my thoughts remain with them.”

Sentencing for the minor now found guilty of manslaughter will take place at Birmingham Crown Court on 5 May.

NEWS: Jury prepares to consider their verdict for Dea John Reid murder trail

Words by Ed King

The jury for the Dea John Reid murder case are preparing to consider their verdict, as summing up for the defence councils on the high profile murder case finished this week.

Being heard at Birmingham Crown Court, on Monday, 28 March the twelve strong jury will decide, as a group, whether George Khan (39, Kingstanding), Michael Shields (36, Castle Bromwich), and the three minors accused of murder are guilty or innocent. All five have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On 31 May 2021, the 14 year old Dea John Reid was fatally stabbed on College Road in KIngstanding – dying at the scene, following a single blow to the chest.

After a swift but thorough police investigation, where officers trawled through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage an interviewed many witnesses, two men and three minors were arrested and charged with the murder of the schoolboy.

Michael Shields was the first to hand himself into the police, the day after the killing, with police eventually charging the Castle Bromwich man with murder, alongside Khan and the three minors.

The Crown Prosecution Service claim all five had ‘joint participation’ in the deadly attack, despite only one of the minors delivering the fatal blow.

Opening the case for the prosecution on Wednesday, 23 February 2022, Richard Wormald QC described the deadly chase and assault as a “hunt” and “revenge attack”.

The court then heard how the three minors, along with another friend, had been “mugged” by Dea John and other boys in his company earlier that day, leading to a retaliation attack that left the 14 year old fatally stabbed.

During their summing up statements, councils for the defence were keen to remind the jury of the fact the three minors had felt threatened from earlier incidents, including an initial altercation where members of Dea John’s group had tried to rob an Armani ‘man pouch’ from one of the teenagers accused.

Defending the child who had admited stabbed Dea John Reid, although claiming it was in self defence, Mr Clarke QC highlighted a piece of CCTV footage where he asserted you could see “a look of terror on his face” – arguing the final assault was a result of “continued threat… an action that has to be seen in the context of what happened before.”

But the twist of the case came from the alleged involvement of Michael Shields, who despite being charged with murder along with the other accused is claiming to be an unwilling bystander in an event he had no idea would end in serious assault, let alone murder.

The court had previously heard how the two adults accused of murder, George Khan and Michael Shields, had been drinking in The Digby pub on Chester Road before becoming embroiled in the search for Dea John and his friends.

Michael Shields’s defence council claimed he was only in George Khan’s VW Golf, the vehicle used by all five accused of murder to find Dea John and his friends, because he had no money to get home on his own.

Following the subsequent chase and attack, which left the 14 year old Dea John Reid bleeding to death outside the Costcutter on College Road, Michael Shields further claimed he was only aware there had been a stabbing after overhearing a phone call in the car whilst leaving the murder scene – at which point he asked the driver, George Khan, to pull over so he could walk home.

The prosecution does not dispute the fact Michael Shields left the car.

Furthermore, Michael Shields claimed he was threatened by Hollie Davis, who is the ex-partner of George Khan, not to go to the police – extending her threats to Shields’s ex-partner.

Hollie Davis admits she was “horrible to him (Shields)” during a series of phone calls made after the attack.

After hearing a list of positive character references, from men and women of different cultures and backgrounds, the defence council for Michael Shields’s reminded the jury how his client handed himself into the police the day following the attack, as he thought it was “the right thing to do’.

The defence for Shields further stated: “He’s gone from being a perfectly decent, hardworking individual to being on trial for murder, just like that.”

Amongst his final words, Michael Shields’s barrister asked the jury to consider if they believed his client was capable of the “calculated” murder of a child – adding: “This man, Michael Shields, is not a killer.”

All accused will be back in Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, 28 March for the final part of the judge’s summing up – before retiring to deliver their final verdict.

All five accused of murder deny the charges. Hollie Davis further denies the charge of assisting an offender.

NEWS: Courtroom in tears as Dea-John Reid’s final moments caught on CCTV are played to jury

On Friday, 25 February, friends and relatives of Dea John Reid left the courtroom in tears after the schoolboy’s final moments were repeatedly played for jurors.

The fourth day of the murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court, expected to last up to eight weeks, again centred on CCTV and doorbell camera footage from Kingstanding.

Police officers recovered footage from more than 20 cameras around Twickenham Road, College Road, Hometon Road, and Wardour Grove.

Jurors were shown defendants George Khan (39) and Michael Shields (36) along with their three child co-defendants driving around several roads in a blue VW Golf looking for Dea-John Reid and his friends.

The court previously heard how Dea-John had an altercation earlier in the day in Kingstanding, where money had been demanded, before one of the minors accused phoned Khan – who was drinking in The Digby pub on the Chester Road with Shields.

The two men allegedly then jumped into Khan’s VW Golf and collected the boys, some of whom picked up weapons – including a kitchen knife and a wheel brace, before driving around Kingstanding and Perry Common searching for Dea-John and his friends.

Detectives painstakingly pieced together CCTV from shops and footage from doorbell cameras to show the chase in chronological order.

Detective Constable Dave Pugh, giving evidence for a third day, played footage from a College Road camera which had both groups in shot.

He said: “This is the moment the two groups saw each other. Dea-John became separated from his group and can be seen running alone.”

The two men and three boys can then be seen running across a busy College Road chasing after Dea-John, with some of the group carrying weapons.

DC Pugh replayed the audio of a doorbell camera on College Road at half speed, two thirds speed and normal speed. An older man can be heard shouting “f**k him up” to the boys ahead of him.

One of boys caught up with Dea-John on the corner of Wardour Grove and College Road. The police have recovered camera footage from both streets giving a clear view of the two or three second altercation which left Dea-John dead.

The boy approaches Dea-John and they clash, the boy can be seen making a hand movement with a knife towards Dea-John’s body. Dea-John can then be seen recoiling and holding his side while his attacker runs off.

The unnerving footage was replayed at different speeds several times, prompting two members of the victim’s family to leave the court in tears.

The judge then paused evidence for lunch, whilst other members of Dea-John’s family were visibly upset outside the court.

Due to the interest in the case, the defendants, the judge, several lawyers, and some members of the victim’s and defendants families are in one court – while lawyers and extended family of the victim watch proceedings from another room.

Dea-John Reid’s murder on 31 May 2021 prompted a massive response on social media, with a vigil held on the spot where he died attracting more than 1,000 people from across the country.

Shields, of Alvis Walk, Castle Bromwich, and Khan, of Newstead Road, Birmingham, and the three children, who cannot be named because of their age, all deny murder.

Hollie Davies, 36, of Waldon Walk, Birmingham, is accused of assisting an offender. She denies the charge.

The trial continues.

NEWS: Dea-John Reid trial begins as George Khan, Michael Shields, and three minors stand accused of murder

Words & pics by Ed King

The trial over the killing of schoolboy Dea-John Reid began at Birmingham Crown Court today, as George Khan (39), Michael Shields (36), and three minors stood accused of murder.

Hollie Davies (36), former partner of George Khan, also stood accused of assisting an offender.

Sitting in the main courtroom listening to the prosecution’s opening were Dea-John’s mother and brother, accompanied by Desmond Jaddoo who has counselled the family ever since the murder.

A ‘spill over’ court had also been made available to cater for the large number of family members and friends of Dea-John Reid.

Also present in the main courtroom were friends of Hollie Davies.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Richard Wormald QC described the “revenge attack” that led to the fatal stabbing of Dea-John Reid on Monday, 31 May 2021 – where the 14 year old was killed on Collage Road, Kingstanding, following a single stab wound to the heart, as according to the post-mortem examination.

The jury were told how two groups of young males, one including Dea-John Reid and the other including the minors accused of murder, had interacted earlier in the day – beginning with a dispute after they first crossed paths near the Kingstanding Circle, and continuing at a convenience store in the area.

It was alleged the group including Dea-John began “mugging” the minors accused, as one “demanded” an Armani pouch from one of the defendants whilst others were asked to “empty their pockets”.

Running away from the attempted robbery, and being chased by the group including Dea-John, it was further told how the minors accused then spilt up – with one seeking refuge in a local newsagent, before being let out via a back entrance by the shop owner as Dea-John Reid and the others in his group waited outside the front.

The prosecution then described how the minors accused reconvened at a family member’s house, where one of them contacted George Khan who was at that time in The Digby Pub, on Chester Road, with Michael Shields.

It was told how George Khan and Michael Shields then collected the three minors accused, driving them in Khan’s blue VW Golf to the area where the earlier altercation had taken place – looking for Dea-John and his group.

It was presented by the prosecution that all five accused of murder knew weapons were being carried and had the intention to inflict serious violence and cause grievous bodily harm.

The prosecution then described how Dea-John and his group were eventually spotted by George Khan, Michael Shields, and the three minors accused – after being driven around “on the hunt” in George Khan’s blue VW Golf.

According to the prosecution, there was then a chase with all five of those accused with murder complicit in “a group attack, during which each played their party, running after Dea-John Reid, thus enabling” the minor who delivered the fatal blow “to chase down and fatally stab Dea-John Reid to the left side of the chest.”

Richard Wormald QC then added: “The male defendants acted like a pack, chasing down their pray. Just like a pack in chase, all were close and converging.

“Having carried out the attack, the group then made off in haste – not one of them offered any support or comfort to Dea-John Reid, they simply left him to die.”

Once the prosecution had finished opening, which took several hours, the sequence of events was supported by a series of CCTV images and footage – with DC David Pugh, from the homicide team based in Aston, corroborating the locations and the identification of the defendants as mapped out by the images and video captured.

None of the defendants accused of murder deny or contest the references made to them featuring in the CCTV footage.

The prosecution also told the jury, the minor who delivered the fatal blow “accepts that he killed Dea-John Reid by stabbing him, but he will claim that he acted in self-defence.”

The prosecution further explained how the following day in the hearing would likely be taken up going through the extensive CCTV footage, and how the police “have been able to zoom in on the fatal stabbing, which the jury will see in due course.”

The individual barristers acting on behalf of the accused were also given a brief chance to introduce their defence, which for those accused of murder hangs largely on either not knowing their co-defendants were carrying weapons, or for the minor who stabbed and killed Dea-John Reid that they were acting in self-defence.

The case continues and is expected to last between six to eight weeks.

NEWS: Police warn knife crime has “increased drastically” across Erdington after Dea-John murder

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

Knife crime has “increased drastically” in Kingstanding and Erdington since the murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid during May Bank Holiday weekend.

West Midlands Police officers are now conducting more searches of people, public places, and parks for knives – and warned young people not to carry a weapon for self-defence.

Kingstanding PCSO Meg Skelding explained in an email to local residents about the sudden spike in knife crime.

She said: “There has recently been an increase in knife crime within Kingstanding and the surrounding areas. This has increased drastically within the last month even after a young male lost his life to knife crime.

“We need to work together now more than ever to help decrease the amount of knives that are on our streets, please have a word with your young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and even more so about the effects of using a knife.”

Schoolboy Dea-John Reid, aged 14, was stabbed to death on May Bank Holiday Sunday on College Road.

Tensions ran high after his murder which also sparked a massive outpouring of grief – culminating in a vigil at the spot he died, attended by more than 1,000 people.

His funeral was held in Lozells in private last month as his family did not want the service to become a magnet for crowds.

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, who organised the vigil and advised the Reid family, is unsurprised the police have revealed knife crime has increased.

He told Erdington Local: “I understand there have been several serious incidents since the Dea-John’s murder. I have also been told there has been an increase in racially motived crime too.”

Bishop Jaddoo had targeted Kingstanding last year as an area which needed life-saving bleed control kits installed in local shops and businesses.

He said: “Our research showed after inner city Birmingham, Kingstanding was the area where young people were in danger because of knife crime.

“So, it does not surprise me there has been an increase in knife crime because the problem was already there and the murder has made the situation worse.”

Tragically before locations were found for ten bleed control kids in the area, Dea-John was stabbed to death on College Road, a crime which shocked the entire community.

PCSO Skeldon believes the high-profile murder has led to more young people leaving their home with knives in the misguided belief they will be safer.

She added: “The majority of stabbing victims are stabbed with their own knife that they have taken out for protection.

“If you have concerns about someone or are worried that they might be being drawn into the peer pressure of carrying a knife, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.”

Specialist anti-gang officers have been operating in Erdington and Kingstanding and have succeeded taking dangerous knives off the street.

On Friday West Midlands Police’s Birmingham Organised Crime and Gangs Team tweeted: “Plain clothes officers had cause to stop and search two males on Wheelwright Road in Erdington yesterday evening.

“Both males arrested following the recovery or these awful weapons. There is no excuse! #LivesNotKnives.”

For advice and guidence from West MIdlands Police on knife crime visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/knife-crime 

To locate a Weapon Surrender Bin in your area visit www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/tackling-violence/weapon-surrender-bins 

PICTURE GALLERY: Shine-a-Light vigil for Dea-John Reid – Sunday 6 June 2021

Pics & videos by Ed King

A selection of pictures and videos from the Shine-a-Light vigil for Dea-John Reid – held on Sunday 6 June 2021, at the place he died on College Road in Kingstanding.

Over 1000 people from across Erdington attended the peaceful vigil, which saw community leaders, local politicians, families and friends come together to mourn the loss of another young life.

For more about the Shine-a-Light vigil for Dea-John Reid click here.


Bishop Desmond Jaddoo adresses crowd

Prayer for unity – Pastor Calvin Young

Psalm 23:4 ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…’

“We are committed to be people of peace” – Bishop Mike Royal

“Every young man… come forward…”

Balloon release

Anyone who can help West Midlands Police with their investigation should contact them urgently via Live Chat on https://west-midlands.police.uk/

Alternatively, people can call West Midlands Police on 101 – quoting log 3313 of 31/5.

NEWS: Two more charged with Dea-John Reid murder as police search for car that “could be crucial to the investigation.”

Words by Ed King / Pic of Dea-John Reid supplied by family – pic of car by West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police have charged a further two people over the murder of Kingstanding teenager, Dea-John Reid.

George Khan, 38, from Newstead Road in Kingstanding, will appear at Birmingham Magistrate Count today – alongside a 14-year-old boy who has also been charged with Dea-John’s murder.

Michael Shields, 35, from Alvis Walk in Castle Bromwich, was charged earlier this week and is now in prison on remand.

As officers continue to examine the horrific attack, which saw 14-year-old Dea John Reid fatally stabbed after being chased by a gang of men and boys on 31 May, West Midlands Police are looking for a car they believe “could be crucial to the investigation.”

It is believed the offenders arrived and left the scene at around 7.30pm in a dark blue VW Golf with the registration number TN07 GBR.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Mobberley from the West Midlands Police Homicide Unit, said: “We really need to trace this VW Golf and I would urge anyone who believes they have seen the car or knows of its whereabouts to get in touch.

“It could be crucial to the investigation so if anyone has any information please message us or call.

“People can call anonymously, we don’t need their names, just information.

“We are pursuing all lines of enquiry to find anyone else involved in Dea-John’s tragic death and anyone who has information should contact us.”

As anger and sadness washes over Kingstanding, Bishop Desmond Jaddoo has been calling for calm following reports of racial abuse towards Dea-John before the murder.

The Shine-a-Light candle lit vigil has been organsied for 8:30pm Sunday 6 June, outside the MacDonalds on College Road where the fatal stabbing took place – to bring a grieving community together and heal “whatever divisions we may have.”

Bishop Jaddoo told Erdington Local: “It is important at this time that we focus on the fact a young 14-year-old boy, with his life ahead of him, has been tragically taken.

“At this time, his family are in mourning and let’s focus on healing our community and whatever divisions we may have.

“The Shine-a-Light memorial vigil, taking place this Sunday at the spot where Dea-John lost his life, is important – for us to stand together, in unity and as a community.”

West Midlands Police will also be sending officers to Dea-John’s school, Harborne Academy, once students return after the half term holiday.

A Go Fund page has now been set up to support Dea-John’s family with funeral costs and ‘associated expenses in laying Dea-John to rest’.

To visit the online fundraiser visit:  https://gofund.me/3310a53d

Bishop Jaddoo has been running the Yes2Life campaign alongside Majid Khan, to challenge gun and knife crime across the city. Bishop Jaddoo brought the first bleed control kit to Erdington, installed at The Gravevine off-licence on Hawthorn Road, Kingstanding, in October 2020.

A further bleed control kit was installed at The Juicy Joint on Coton Rd, off Erdington High Street, earlier this year – following support from Scarlett Lewis, mother of 6 year old Jessie Lewis who was shot and killed in the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut.

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo with Joan Reid, mother of murdered schoolboy Dea-John Reid

Anyone who can help West Midlands Police with their investigation should contact them urgently via Live Chat on www.west-midlands.police.uk

Alternatively, people can call West Midlands Police on 101 – quoting log 3313 of 31/5.

For more information about bleed control kits and the work being done by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo visit www.desjaddoo.org.uk

For more about the Yes2Life campaign visit www.yes2life.co.uk

NEWS: Castle Bromwich man charged with murder of 14-year-old Dea-John Reid

Words by Ed King / Pics by Jobe Baker Sullivan – pic of Dea-John Reid supplied by West Midlands Police

A man has been formally charged with the murder of 14-year-old Kingstanding teenager, Dea-John Reid, who was stabbed on College Road on Monday 31 May.

Michael Shields, 35, from Alvis Walk in Castle Bromwich, will appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court this morning.

Dea-John’s family is being supported by a specialist Family Liaison Officer and have formally identified him as the victim.

The 14-year-old is understood to have been chased by a group at around 7.30pm on 31 May, before being stabbed on College Road.

He collapsed in the road and was pronounced dead at the scene despite emergency services administering advanced life support; a post mortem examination confirmed he died from a stab wound to his chest,

6 people were arrested on Tuesday 1 June, following an “immediate investigation” from West Midlands Police Homicide team which made “rapid progress”.

Investigating officers “flooded” Kingstanding looking for Dea-John’s killers, conducting interviews and scouring CCTV footage from across the area.

In a statement from West Midlands Police following the arrests on Tuesday, the force confirmed they were able  to “identify the people we believe responsible for the shocking attack.”

“All six were arrested within the space of a few hours this afternoon following the fatal stabbing last night (31 May) of the 14-year-old in Kingstanding.

“A man aged 33 was arrested from an address in Kingstanding at 3.35pm followed by a 13-year-old boy who was detained in the Walsall area.

“Another man aged 38 and a 14-year-old boy were arrested from a vehicle in Cheshire while two men, aged 36 and 35, surrendered to separate police stations in the West Midlands.”

Castle Bromwich man, Michael Shields, will be processed at Birmingham Magistrate Court this morning.

A 38-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy remain in custody for questioning today.

Two men, aged 36 and 33, and a 13-year-old boy have been released with no further action.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Mobberley said: “This is a significant step forward in our investigation, but we are still pursuing all lines of enquiry to find anyone else involved in Dea-John’s tragic death.

“We are looking at all the circumstances which led up to the events of Monday evening and anyone who has information should contact us.”

Anyone who can help West Midlands Police with their investigation should contact them urgently via Live Chat on www.west-midlands.police.uk

Alternatively, people can call West Midlands Police on 101 – quoting log 3313 of 31/5.

NEWS: Murder investigation “immediately launched” and making “rapid progress” after fatal stabbing of Kingstanding teenager

Words by Ed King / Pics by Jobe Baker Sullivan

Shockwaves were felt across Kingstanding, following the fatal stabbing of a teenager on College Road last night.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called out after a 14-year-old boy was found “in critical condition” at 7.35pm on Monday 31 May – with two ambulances, a paramedic officer, a MERIT Trauma doctor and critical care paramedic arriving within five minutes of the 999 call.

Despite efforts from emergency services, who administered advanced life support, the boy was confirmed dead at the scene.

A murder investigation was “immediately launched” by West Midlands Police, who “flooded the area with officers to search for the offenders” – asking for information from members of the public and looking through local CCTV footage.

Detective Inspector Ranj Sangha, from West Midlands Homicide Unit, said: “This is a shocking and senseless tragedy. Another young life has been taken far too soon.

“We have officers with the boy’s family who are facing the cruellest of news this evening. My heart goes out to them.

“We will be leaving no stone unturned in our hunt for the callous individuals responsible for this, or for anyone harbouring them, knowing what they have done.”

Reports from West Midlands Police told of an attack taking place on the junction of College Road and with Wardour Grove around 7.30pm, “by up to seven offenders, who ran off towards Chester Road.”

A further statement from West Midlands Police, stating they are making “rapid progress” in the investigation, described the attack in more detail.

“The youngster is believed to have been chased on College Road in Kingstanding by a number of people in the direction of McDonald’s.

“He is then believed to have been stabbed by one of the youths. He collapsed into the road and was pronounced dead a short time later.”

Following the murder, local residents were shocked that such brutality could happen on a busy thoroughfare in what are still daylight hours.

Ogenna, who lives on Broomhill Road, told Erdington Local: “I’ve been living here for 10 years and never heard of anybody dying so close to hear.

“Scenes like this… I’ve never witnessed.

“Perry Common has been a very quiet area, a good place to raise children. It’s unfortunate this is happening. Perry Common as a village does not have this – this must have come from out the Perry Common enclave”.

Bishop Desmond Jaddo has been working with the Yes2Life campaign to bring bleed control kits to Kingstanding, installing the area’s first zero responder unit at The Grapevine Off Licence on Hawthorn Road in October last year – in a campaign closely followed by Erdington Local.

Supporting the family of the murdered teenager last night, Bishop Jaddoo told Erdington Local:

“It’s heartbreaking that yet another mother is grieving for the loss of her son, a 14-year-old lad who had his life ahead of him will now leave an empty school chair in a classroom next week.

“But we cannot give up in our mission in a proactive and joint approach in the fight against knife and gun crime, including weapons bins and bleed control kits.

“Our city has seen too many families torn apart – I would urge the Police and Crimes Commissioner to show clear and strategic leadership on the issue.”

MP for Erdington, Jack Dromey, added: “I was deeply shocked and saddened by the news that a 14-year-old young man was stabbed to death on College Road in Kingstanding last night.

“I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to the family of the victim and I am offering them every support.

“Going forward, we need a renewed focus on the growing problem of knife crime in our city. We are losing too many lives to violent crime and we must ensure those responsible are brought to justice.

“In addition, we also need to tackle the root causes of these incidents of appalling violence that are blighting local communities to prevent more families losing loved ones.”

Anyone who can help West Midlands Police with their investigation should contact them urgently via Live Chat on https://west-midlands.police.uk/

Alternatively, people can call West Midlands Police on 101 – quoting log 3313 of 31/5.

For more on Yes2Life, including the work they do challenging knife and gun crime, visit www.yes2life.co.uk

EXCLUSIVE: Mother of murdered Sandy Hook schoolboy funds Kingstanding bleed control kits

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by Scarlett Lewis

The inspirational American mother of a boy murdered in the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012 has funded ten new bleed control kits for Kingstanding.

Scarlett Lewis’ life changed forever when she was told there was a shooting at her six-year-old son Jesse’s school in Connecticut.

When the frantic mother got to the school parents were heading home with their traumatised children. However, Jesse was nowhere to be seen and neither were most his elementary class or his teacher.

As the day unfolded the full horror of what happened inside the school became clear. Armed with an assault rifle, former pupil Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six teachers before turning the gun on himself – earlier in the day he had murdered his mother, a former teacher at the school.

Scarlett told Erdington Local: “I put my children on the school bus and assumed they would come home safe. I never thought in a million years my son would be shot in the forehead in his classroom in one of the worst mass murders in US history.

“I knew it became my responsibility, so I dedicated the rest of my life to do what is right as these shootings are 100% preventable. It’s just like tackling bullying and drugs, we need to tackle the causes of these problems.”

The Sandy Hook massacre remains the USA’s most deadly school shooting and sparked a campaign to tighten America’s notoriously lax gun control laws. However, Scarlett wanted to understand why so many young people kill.

She said: “The tragedy could have been averted with social and emotional intelligence.”

The first step of Scarlett rebuilding her life was to forgive the mass murderer who killed her son.

She said: “I forgave him, he was not treated well. He had special needs which weren’t known. Often was seen in the cafeteria by students crying and shaking with anxiety and the only person who would comfort him was the anxiety. He was bullied, so I felt compassion for him.”

However, what Scarlett could never expected after losing her son in a national tragedy was being the target of internet trolls accusing her of being involved in a conspiracy claiming the entire massacre was fabricated.

She said: “Conspiracy theorists do not have the strength to believe something as awful as Sandy Hook could happen in their country, they would rather believe I am a ‘crisis actor’ and the whole thing was made up than face up to the truth and be part of the solution.”

Scarlett’s negative social media experiences were outweighed by the support she received by other bereaved parents.

She said: “Almost immediately afterwards I had parents of children who had been killed in similar circumstances reach out to me offering support. They helped me realise I would survive and now had a voice which would be listened to, which is why I decided to be part of the solution.”

Reading a heart-breaking message from her son, who saved the lives of several children by urging them to run as the gunman reloaded, also deeply affected Scarlett.

“Jesse wrote a chalk board message right before he went to school that day which I did not see until afterwards.

“He wrote ‘have some fun’ to his brother and then three words ‘nurturing, healing, love’. I knew instantly if the shooter had been taught to give and receive nurturing, healing and love the tragedy would never have happened,” she said.

“I also wanted to be a role model for my 12-year-old son TJ, I did not want him to spend his life angry and I wanted to be free of anger too.”

Scarlett began researching social and emotional learning and founded The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement which now offers free programming in 10,000 schools across every US state and in 110 different countries.

Scarlett believes love is the key to preventing mass murders and every child should be taught about emotions, connections, and relationships.

President Barack Obama was deeply upset by the Sandy Hook massacre and even addressed the nation from the school days after the tragedy. He failed in his bid to tighten gun laws but introduced Scarlett to his sister, a professor who helped launch the foundation. 

Kingstanding’s first bleed control kit was installed in October but another ten are needed for the area to be covered.

When Scarlett heard about deadly consequences of knife crime in Birmingham, she offered to purchase ten new kits, immediately.

“I totally understand the concept of zero responders and how bleed control kits can save lives. It took more than seven minutes for emergency services to get to Jesse’s school and a bleed control kit could have saved lives,” she said.

Bishop Desmond Jadoo and Majid Khan, from Yes2Life  – a Birmingham based group ‘campaigning against the effects of gun & knife crime’, were so impressed by Scarlett’s humanity they volunteered to be UK ambassadors for her Choose Love Movement.

Bishop Jaddoo said: “For a mother to forgive the killer of her six-year-old son, choose love and dedicate her life to saving lives is incredibly inspiring and because of her generosity lives will be saved in Kingstanding.”

For more information about The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement www.chooselovemovement.org

To follow the Yes2Life organsiation on Twitter,, visit www.twitter.com/_yes2life_

For more information about bleed control kits and the work being done by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo visit www.desjaddoo.org.uk