Grandmother of murdered teen wants people to learn from her family's tragedy

08 Mar 2018 15:15 PM

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The grandmother of a teenager stabbed to death on Christmas Eve has today condemned his killers - and said the consequences of carrying a knife can "tear families apart".

Valerie Robinson, 60, was left devastated when her grandson Owen Kerry was stabbed to death at a social club in Cramlington the night before Christmas in 2016.

The 19-year-old had been out drinking with friends when Brian Cahill and his girlfriend Lyndsey Harper entered the bar and started to cause trouble.

Owen confronted the pair after Cahill started to cause trouble at which point he brandished a knife and stabbed Owen in the stomach and fled with his girlfriend in a taxi.

The teenager was rushed to hospital for treatment to his wounds but sadly doctors were unable to save him and he died with his family by his bedside.

Cahill, 35, and Harper, 36, were jailed for a minimum of 44 years in total for Owen's murder after being sentenced by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court in June last year.

And now - just over a year since his death - his grandmother Valerie has revealed she has been "torn apart" by his murder. She now wants to use Owen's death to show people the dangers of carrying a knife.

The grandmother-of-seven, who lives in Cramlington, said: "Our family has been completely torn apart. I will never ever see my grandson again and his parents will never again be able to hold their son.

"It is never going to be the same again. He was a right grandma's boy and we had a great relationship. It is devastating that I am never going to see him again.

"It is heart-wrenching. When you get that news it is like your heart has been ripped out of your chest. Other people who have been in this situation will know it can leave families broken.

"What I don't understand is why anybody would carry a knife in the first place. If you are going out with a knife then do not tell me you aren't going to use it.

"If somebody is going out with a friend and they know that person is carrying a knife then they should refuse to go out with them. And if that person decides to leave with a knife then you should call the police.

"My grandson is gone forever and his two killers are behind bars for the rest of their lives. Nobody has gained anything and I just hope people can learn from what has happened to Owen.

"If me standing up and speaking about what happened stops someone going out with a knife and stops that person from taking an innocent life then that is the only comfort I will be able to get from all of this."

Northumbria Police has been supporting Valerie and Owen's parents, Keith and Rachel, since his death and remain in contact with the family.

Chief Inspector Helena Barron, of Northern Area Command, said that figures relating to knife crime are low in Northumbria but one death was still one too many.

She said: "This case was devastating for the family just hours before they were set to celebrate Christmas.

"Owen had gone to the bar that night to enjoy a few games of pools with his friends but ended up losing his life in a completely unprovoked attack.

"The reality is that we do not have an issue with knife crime in Northumbria and, in comparison to other major cities, our figures are very low.

"It is generally a very safe place to live and our officers will continue to work hard to make sure incidents like this are rare.

"However, Owen's murder does show the devastating consequences of just one person arming themselves with a knife.

"We will offer Valerie our full support as she looks to educate people about the consequences of knife crime and welcome any initiative that helps protect members of he public.

"Our priority is to ensure as few people as possible fall victim to this type of crime in the first place."