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

NEWS: Kingstanding gets its lifesaving first bleed control kit on the Hawthorn

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

The first bleed control kit has been installed in Kingstanding to save lives if stabbings and shootings continue to happen in the area.

The Grapevine off licence, Hawthorn Road, now has the medical equipment needed to stop bleeding immediately if someone gets injured nearby.

After a wave in deaths in inner city Birmingham, Bishop Desmond Jaddoo from Yes2Life put the kits in Lozells, Aston, and Handsworth – and has now set his sights on Kingstanding and Erdington.

He told Erdington Local: “We have wanted to get a bleed control kit in Kingstanding for a while.

The recent spark in violence has made it essential, it is about being prepared, just in case, many times things happen and we do not know what to do.

We started in Lozells, Handsworth and Newtown but our target has been North Birmingham, Kingstanding, Erdington, Oscott etc.”

He added: “We want to get bleed control kits in these areas but also provide training too, however, due to COVID training sessions have been hampered.

When there was a shooting in Great Hampton Street, Hockley, a woman got a bleed kit and saved his life, she had not had training but had seen some of our Facebook videos, so we are looking to produce more training videos.

The violence has not stopped because of COVID, in fact it has gone up.”

The bleed control kit includes items such as a tourniquet, bandages, and a foil blanket, and has been created with the help of Bunzl Healthcare, Purple Pharma, and Blue Kit Medical.

Bishop Jaddoo is delighted to have got a lifesaving foothold in Kingstanding.

He said: “This is the first bleed control kit in Kingstanding, we would have been in Kingstanding before but we are not funded. We have to fund these ourselves, so every time we get some donations we install more kits.

Our aim is to get bleed control kits on the College Road, Witton Lodge, Kingstanding Circle, here on the Hawthorn and up Kingstanding Road.

What we try to do is cover an area completely with kits and educate people how they can be used and then move on, we will go to Erdington next. But as we are not funded we need to build it slowly.

When people talk about issues proportionality, poverty and violence, a lot of people think because Kingstanding is in North Birmingham, which is seen as more affluent than inner city Birmingham. it’s OK but there is a lot of social housing in this area, and with that there is a lot of working class white people, and they are totally forgotten about and that is so wrong.

We need to think how society rates us, they lump in the black and Asian communities in with the working class communities. So, we have to class ourselves as one group.”

He added: “We picked The Grapevine because the shopkeeper understands the importance of bleed control kits and why they need to be in the community.

If someone is hurt, and we are not just talking about stabbings and shootings, if there is a car crash, the kit is for the zero responder, the person who sees the incident and can help immediately before the emergency services get there. These kits have tourniquets and bleed pressure bandages, those first minutes are vital.”

Owner of The Grapevine off licence on Hawthorn Road, Paul Bradford, wanted to have a bleed control kit in his shop to foster a sense of community in Kingstanding.

He said: “I have followed the work (Bishop) Desmond has done over the years and he told me how these bleed control kits can save lives so I wanted to get involved.

It is not just about the rising crime; we witnessed a really bad car crash outside the shop not long ago and we could have really done with a bleed control kit to help those injured.

If something happens on the Hawthorn we will be prepared, and anything can happen, we are a community on the Hawthorn. There is a defibrillator in the Co-op as well in case anyone has a heart attack, we are all in this together.

I’m glad that The Grapevine is the first of hopefully many businesses in Kingstanding to have a bleed control kit, I wish there was no need for them but there is.”

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo – outside The Grapevine off licence on Hawthon Road, Kingstanding

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

For more information about Bishop Desmond Jaddoo visit www.desjaddoo.org.uk

NEWS: Leon Edwards – Erdington’s global UFC star stands up against knife crime

Words by Adam Smith

Erdington’s very own global UFC superstar Leon Edwards still believes he will be world champion this year but is now also determined to stop local youngsters falling into a life of crime.

The 28-year-old’s plans for global domination were put on hold by COVID-19 but during lockdown he decided to fight knife crime by trying to get free gym memberships for poverty-stricken youngsters.

Currently on an eight fight winning streak and awaiting a welterweight title shot Edwards has shown in recent months he is prepared to use his celebrity status to further causes he believes in.

Edwards, who trained at the Ultimate Training Centre on Erdington High Street, urged people to support NHS and care workers, helped raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and attended the Black Lives Matter march in Birmingham city centre last month.

A spate of knife crime deeply affected Edwards after the video of his friend’s cousin being stabbed to death in Oldbury was widely circulated online. He immediately told his management and the UFC he wanted to do something, and now he and fellow UK fighters Darren Till and Jimi Manuwa are working on launching a new anti-knife crime organisation.

Edwards told MMA Junkie: “For me, I grew up in that same environment. I understand what these kids are going through and what’s going through their heads.

I retweeted a video a few weeks ago on my Instagram about that kid getting stabbed in Birmingham – one of my friends’ cousins. It was heart breaking to actually see the video, because you hear about it all the time. On that same day, that video of that guy that got stabbed, there was another three stabbings in that same day.

So, I messaged my management straight away and said ‘what can I do to help?’ And set something up that can help and prevent this. Jimi Manuwa reached out to me literally the next day and he was saying the same thing as me and it would be good to get Till involved as well.

We all came from the same situation as these kids. We all understand the kids. I think martial arts changed our lives and it can hopefully change someone else’s life.”

He added: “At first the plan that came was like we are going to join someone else’s organisation. Our thing is though we want to do our own thing. We want to do it in our own way. We don’t want to join a pre-existing organisation. So at the moment it’s bouncing ideas, speaking to the UFC – they want to be involved as well. We think we are going to be doing our own thing with the UFC. It’s moving forward and we are getting more people involved which is good.”

Edwards, who was due to headline a global UFC event against Tyrone Woodley in March in London before the sports world came to a grinding halt, understands lack of money for local youngsters is a major problem.

He added: “It’s about getting them into martial arts. Some of these kids don’t have money to come to the gym and can’t afford the memberships. So somehow we are trying to get it so the government can help us get these kids in the gym for free basically by covering the costs and we teach them, we mentor them and use the UFC to help as well..”

The Jamaican born fighter, whose brother Fabian is also an MMA star, added: “It’s been going on for a very long time now. Youth violence in the UK, especially Birmingham and London knife crime, it’s been massive.

I’m trying to bring awareness to it and trying to see what I could do to help, because I remember being in environments like that growing up as a kid with my friends, so I would love to try and help and put awareness to it.”

The former Aston Manor Academy pupil admitted he could easily have fallen into a life of crime growing but his mother forced him to join a gym.

He added: “When I grew up as a kid, I was involved in gangs and stuff like that. My mum took me to the gym to keep me away from my friends, to try and make a better life for myself.

I stuck to it. It’s changed my life. It changed my family’s life, and I’ve been trying to push it, push it, push it in the UK, to say martial arts has changed my life and it could also change your life.”

In January, Edwards secured his financial future by penning a multi-fight deal with Las Vegas based UFC after becoming a fan favourite with his signature post-chinch elbow move.

In a statement released through his management company Paradigm Sports, he said:  “I am excited to re-sign with the world’s foremost MMA promotion.

I have had an incredible run in the UFC thus far, and this contract secures my financial position as I make my run towards the welterweight title.”

To find out more Leon Edwards, visit www.ufc.com/athlete/leon-edwards