MURDER: Family tells of months of torment after death of much-loved son

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THE parents of Ross Parker - the 17-year-old boy who was brutally stabbed to death - have today broken their four- month silence to talk about their family´s agony.

THE parents of Ross Parker - the 17-year-old boy who was brutally stabbed to death - have today broken their four- month silence to talk about their familys agony.THE parents of Ross Parker - the 17-year-old boy who was brutally stabbed to death - have today broken their four- month silence to talk about their familys agony.

Ross was attacked as he walked home from work at the Solstice pub, in Northminster, along a cycle path close to Bourges Boulevard.

His parents, Davina and Tony, to this day have not moved anything in his bedroom at their home in Bozeat Way, Westwood, Peterborough.

The towel, which he used after getting out of the bath before rushing to work on that fateful September night, is still laying on the floor where he abandoned it in his hurry.

The bed is unmade, clothes lay strewn across the floor where he threw them as he got ready, and his computer and TV are still on standby. His parents cant bring themselves to turn them off.

A crisp packet remains screwed up on the carpet of the upstairs room and a half-eaten yoghurt, with the spoon still in it, sits on his desk untouched.

His mum cannot even bring herself to wash his dirty clothes or tidy the room.

She sits in there numerous times a day because she feels its the closest she can get to her lost son.

While her husband went back to running his car bodywork repair business, Davina was unable to face going back to work as a waitress. After the agony of Rosss funeral she took three months off - three months of torment, with nothing to do but think about her loss and live in the shadow of memories that would not go away.

In a small and faltering voice, Davina admitted frankly there had been many occasions when she had been close to the edge. Almost in a whisper she spoke of how she had been shocked to find herself with a bottle of pills in one hand and alcohol in the other.

But she had always found an inner strength to somehow keep going.

Sitting in the familys front room, surrounded by pictures of Ross taken at various times throughout his life, Davina tried to explain the demons she lives with every day.

"I often catch myself thinking that if I leave his bedroom the way he did that night then he might just come home one day, although I know hes gone for good."

The pain of losing Ross, who would have turned 18 in August this year, is still as raw today as it was when police officers first told Tony (50) and Davina (44) he had been killed at 4.30am on the morning of September 21.

The family was upstairs asleep and didnt hear police officers knocking on the door until the phone went and they heard people talking outside.

Tony said: "When we let the police in I just couldnt imagine it was my son they were talking about.

"We were all in complete shock - we just felt numb, like it wasnt real.

"Most of the family were at our house by 7am, and after that it was just a day of waiting for information - waiting to be able to go and see him at the hospital. We went to see him four times in all."

Since the funeral, on October 23, his mum, dad and sister, Leanne, have visited the citys crematorium every weekend to lay flowers.

And the family has made a pilgrimage on the 21st of each month to the place where he died with flowers.

Tony said: "Weve felt we had to carry on just for Rosss sake, but there are times when you feel you just cant get out of bed. Weve all had to be strong - its what he would have wanted."

Close to tears, Tony explained his 50th birthday was two days after his sons funeral - a day he would normally have gone to the pub for a drink with Ross.

Instead, he took a can of Guinness to the crematorium and drank it, leaving it half finished with a bunch of flowers next to Rosss commemorative plaque.

Tony said: "All I wanted to do on my birthday was spend some time with Ross.

"I didnt even want to open any presents - but Ross wanted me to spend a day at Silverstone driving a Ferrari and arranged it."

The family spent the day at the track a month later and dedicated it to Ross, because of his great love of cars.

There was no joy in the Parker home at Christmas. There were no decorations. No Christmas tree or cards. They even felt too emotional to buy each other presents.

And, as families across Peterborough sat down to a traditional turkey dinner, Rosss parents and sister had a simple meal of scampi and chips - Rosss favourite.

Leanne, who used to work with Ross at the Solstice, said that two weeks before his death, the moped which he used to get to and from work had been stolen.

"Had the bike never been stolen," Leanne said, "he may well have never been walking home along that path. But we cant dwell on the 'what ifs?."

Sitting close to her mum on the sofa, she said she hasnt been able to set foot back inside the Solstice. Once she had loved working there with her brother. Now there are just too many memories of the lad the rest of the staff fondly named Half Pint, to deal with.

"I cant even go in for a quiet drink," she said, "its just too painful."

She cant even bring herself to put a radio on now in case she hears a song which reminds her of Ross.

The family have been helped through their ordeal by Peterborough police family liason officers.

Davina said: 'Without them we dont know where we would be now.

And she revealed that it had been Rosss ultimate ambition to become a policeman. "He was a boy who always wanted to help others, she said.

>> Sarfraz Ali (24), of Harris Street, Ahmed Ali Awan (21), of Gladstone Street, Shaied Nazir (20), of Cromwell Road, and Ziaraff Mahrad (20), also of Cromwell Road, are awaiting trial charged with murder.