Michelle McPhillips: ‘Someone will be sitting down for Christmas dinner with JJ’s murderer’
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:19 21 December 2017
The mum of Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips has admitted her son’s murder has “destroyed” her – as she prepares for her first Christmas without him.
Michelle McPhillips has set up a Christmas memorial wall outside JJ’s childhood home in Milner Square to remind Islington that his killers are still at large.
She told the Gazette: “Someone will be sitting down for Christmas dinner with a murderer.”
Dad-of-two JJ, 28, was stabbed outside Islington Town Hall in Upper Street on February 25.
It is believed he was acting as a peacemaker in a brawl. The wound left him in cardiac arrest, leading to severe brain damage. His life support machine had to be turned off three days later.
This year, police made nine arrests in connection with the murder. No one has been charged.
Michelle, who runs the Green Man pub in Essex Road, said: “It’s heart wrenching to know people out there know the killers. What I find difficult is I could be walking past them in the street, or serving them in my pub.
“If it was the other way around, I would march my son to the police station. This isn’t about snitching. It’s about morals. If you’re covering for them, you might as well be the murderer.
“For me to put JJ to rest, I need his murderers behind bars. If they get away with it, it could be your son, your daughter, your husband, your wife. The silence of a community allows this to continue.”
Of the continued impact of her loss, Michelle continued: “Let’s put it this way – I’m not celebrating Christmas at all. I’m staying away. If I get upset, I upset the family. Last year, he was dressed as Father Christmas, jumping on everyone’s beds to wake them up on Christmas Day.
“It’s very difficult to watch the world continue. I’m still going back to that night when JJ was stabbed. He grabbed my hand and said: ‘Mum.’
“People ask me how I am. I say I’m fine. But inside I’m screaming like a banshee. I look at myself in the mirror and see my soul has been destroyed.”
Michelle has since become a relentless campaigner against knife crime in Islington, touring schools to expose the truth about the “silent gun”. Two others – Nashon Esbrand and JJ’s friend Lee Jay Hatley – were killed with knives in the borough this year.
Anyone with information about JJ’s killing is urged to call police on 020 8345 3775, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.