WATCH: Mum of murdered Peterborough student makes emotional plea to youngsters to end knife crime
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The mum of a Peterborough student who was stabbed to death has made an emotional plea for youngsters not to carry knives – after her boy’s murderer was locked up.
On the night of Sunday, April 23, Joyce Osei-Poku was delivered the worst news a mother can hear - that her beloved son had been murdered.
The incident had taken place at about 8.40pm in New South Bridge Road, Northampton, when Kwabena Osei-Poku, previously known as Alfred, originally from the Ortons in Peterborough, was stabbed following an incident which started on the University of Northampton campus.
Sadly, and despite the best efforts of paramedics, he died at the scene.
Melvin Lebaga-Idubor, aged 19, previously of Northampton, was found guilty of murder and possession of a knife in connection with Alfred’s death at the end of a trial at Northampton Crown Court last November. Last week he returned to the same court where he was sentenced to a minimum of 21 years in prison.
Antonio Huian, aged 18, also previously of Northampton, was also sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for 21 months, after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.
“Please say no to a knife and yes to life"
Now Joyce has spoken out – calling for an end to knife crime.
She said: “I want people to understand how much devastation a knife can cause a family. And I mean really truly understand.
“Look at a knife and take the time to realise that in one movement you can destroy lives infinitely and forever.
“If you have a conflict with someone, please do not react in anger and use a knife. Do not use a knife to lash out. Do not think that carrying one will not have fatal consequences.
“Instead, please say no to a knife and yes to life.
“I wish I could go back in time and save my son.”
“The pain I feel as a result of Alfred’s murder is so great I cannot put it into words"
Joyce also paid an emotional tribute to her beloved son.
She said: “The pain I feel as a result of Alfred’s murder is so great I cannot put it into words. It lives with me every day. He is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep.
“Sometimes I find it so difficult that I have to lock myself away from my younger children and just cry and cry. I don’t want them to see me upset, but it is so hard to carry on as normal.
“I remember all the great things about Alfred all the time - his kindness, how I could always depend on him, the close a relationship we shared, and how he always wanted to help people younger than him, which he did through his voluntary work with High Heritage.
“These thoughts make me smile but they also break my heart because they remind me of just how much potential he had and how we will never be able to create any new memories together.”
Suring the sentencing hearing, Kwabena's younger brother had a moving victim impact statement read out to the court, which said: "Alfred was the definition of the perfect older brother. He would do anything to keep us safe. He would never miss our birthdays. He would always try and include everyone. His confidence and courage is something I'll never forget.
"He was my big brother, a third parent, and can never be replaced."
Joyce also paid tribute to the Northampton Police team that helped bring Alfred’s killers to justice.
She said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank the team at Northamptonshire Police, particularly Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, Detective Sergeant Matt Bly, Detective Constable Mark Allbright and Detective Constable Lee Chennell.
“As a family, we were very impressed by just how personally they took the investigation into Alfred’s death - working day and night to find out what had happened and to get us justice.
“On every day of the trial, they facilitated parking for us near the court in Northampton, ensured we were always kept updated, and provided us with encouragement and emotional support. They truly went above and beyond.
“Nothing will bring my precious son back, but I am grateful to them that justice has been served and for their support of my family and I.”
“Please share this story with the young people in your lives"
Following the sentencing Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) said: “This is what knife crime does. It ruins families, destroys potential, and cuts short so many lives needlessly. Young people need to realise how dangerous carrying one is and what the consequences can be if you decide to use one during a conflict.
“Please share this story with the young people in your lives. Explain to them that walking away from an argument instead of pulling out a knife can prevent unimaginable pain. Tell them that by using one during a fight could easily lead to death. Tell them that you don’t want to have to go to their funeral.”