Alan Cartwright’s sister to hand petition to Downing Street
PUBLISHED: 16:45 17 June 2015
Borough’s leading figures discuss knife crime fears after latest tragic death
The sister of stabbing victim Alan Cartwright is set to hand in a petition asking the government to toughen up on knife crime as Islington mourns the death of yet another teenager.
Stefan Appleton, 18, became the second teenager to be stabbed to death in the borough in less than four months when he was attacked with a machete outside Nightingale Park, Canonbury, on Wednesday of last week.
The attack, which followed a spate of high profile stabbings in the borough over the past couple months, has left the community in fear and brought back memories of the death of 15-year-old Alan, who was stabbed in the chest while cycling up Caledonian Road in February.
Now Alan’s sister, Cherrie Smith, is working with charity Anti Knife UK and asking for the community’s support to prevent others going through what Alan and Stefan’s families have endured.
“At the moment there seems to be a growing number of families in Islington going through pain and hurt, losing loved ones in a horrible way,” said Cherrie, 22.
“Especially last week – I don’t know the boy but his sister was in the year below me at school. I know exactly what she’s going through.
“Nobody will know what it’s like until they’re put through it.”
Cherrie found out about Anti Knife UK through its founder Danny O’Brien, who helped organise a vigil for Alan in Caledonian Road and has been campaigning for stricter laws and more support for families since the death of Islington teenager Ben Kinsella in 2008,
Chf Sup Catherine Roper, Islington Borough Commander
“I absolutely understand why there is a level of concern following the death of Mr Appleton.
“The has been a number of high profile incidents adding to the fear of crime and I understand the perception that more things are happening.
“From a policing point of view I want to assure the community we’re doing everything we can.
“We are seeing young people engage in some violent criminality. I want to stress that this isn’t the only way. If people are thinking they need to carry a knife, the carriage itself is a criminal act. I urge people to contact us so we can help and support them away from any violence.
“We have increased our presence on the street and are using local resources and central support to tackle the current criminal activity across Islington.”
Mr O’Brien will be joined by Cherrie and six others on July 4 as they hand in a petition to the Prime Minister as part of a demonstration asking for greater support for families who lose loved ones, weapon awareness in schools and making it tougher to buy and import knives.
“Since it’s happened I’ve heard so much about people stabbing other people,” said Cherrie.
“If the petition is considered it would be a great start and we can then try and build it into a big, big deal.”
Alan would have been 16 this month, and Sam Fitzgerald, who was stabbed to death in 2010, would have 25 on Friday last week (June 12).
Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury
“There’s always an argument that if you’re found with a knife you should go to prison, full stop. There’s obviously the difficulty where a youngster that would not normally carry one does so to defend themselves but we have to put a stop to it.
“That has to be dealt with by talking to youngsters in schools,
“They need to be taught that once a knife goes into somebody it’s like cutting an orange. Once it gets through the skin it keeps going.
“You can not only kill someone and have a devastating effect on their family, but you can ruin your own life too.
“If people are scared to report people, send me an email and I will tell the police about it.”
Mr O’Brien said: “Every week it seems there is another stabbing in Islington. The amount of knifes they’re finding on knife sweeps is worrying.
“We’re in a society at the moment where people have just accepted knife crime as the norm. We don’t want to scare people but we’ve got to start to say this is not acceptable.
“Enough is enough.”
Follow this link to sign the petition.
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