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‘Our sons are not statistics’: Families of Islington knife crime victims join JJ McPhillips vigil

PUBLISHED: 12:45 01 March 2018

Children and family members of Islington knife crime victims held placards and sang at a St Mary's Church knife crime vigil marking one year since JJ McPhillips' death. Picture: Polly Hancock

Children and family members of Islington knife crime victims held placards and sang at a St Mary's Church knife crime vigil marking one year since JJ McPhillips' death. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Families of Islington knife crime victims gathered at St Mary’s Church last night to say: “This has to stop.”

Michelle McPhillips and family friend Shane Yerrell share memories of JJ at last night's vigil at St Mary's Church. Picture: Polly HancockMichelle McPhillips and family friend Shane Yerrell share memories of JJ at last night's vigil at St Mary's Church. Picture: Polly Hancock

It was a vigil to mark one year since Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips died of knife wounds inflicted in Upper Street.

His mum, Michelle, had people hold up placards of dozens of other Islington victims. They included the families of Nashon Esbrand, Lee Jay Hatley, Stefan Appleton, Shaquan Sammy-Plummer and Ryan Gray.

“The fact that other parents got up and spoke was amazing,” Michelle told the Gazette this morning, “because we need to stop this happening. Our sons are not just statistics. We have all lost our children.

“It was really effective, holding up placards of the victims. The son of one of my staff members [Michelle runs the Green Man pub in Essex Road] was there and said: ‘I can’t believe how many people have died of knife crime, mum.’

“Considering the weather, I didn’t think I would get such a good turnout. It was brilliant. It showed Islington is behind me.”

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