Taylor Cox 'wanted to play pro football until he was stabbed two years ago'
- Credit: The Cox family
The father of shooting victim Taylor Cox has paid tribute to his son who had dreams of being a professional footballer until he was stabbed two years ago.
Taylor's family are "in pieces" since the 19-year-old was found with a head injury in Hornsey Rise Gardens on June 8, when police were called to reports of shots fired.
Speaking to the Gazette, Taylor's dad Dave described how his son was a "good kid", who was only just getting over the stabbing in 2019 when he was cruelly taken from them this month.
The incident happened on the day he had gone to collect his kit from the semi-professional Boreham Wood Football Club, where he had been accepted onto the under-17s squad.
He was proudly on his way home to show his family, when he was stabbed in the chest.
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"He was 16 at the time, and that was in Islington as well, in the same area. It was out of the blue," said Dave.
"They just missed his heart. He was in hospital a week or two, and it changed him.
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"He didn't want to play football any more. He didn't want to go out.
"He had a big scar on his chest and sometimes it would hurt him."
The attack crushed Taylor's ambition to play football professionally.
"He wanted to play at a higher level and the Boreham Wood team feeds straight to the under-18 team with a view to playing semi-professionally," said Dave, who used to coach Taylor in a youth soccer squad himself until he was 15.
"But when the stabbing happened he didn't have the same drive for the game, in case he got hurt or in case someone hit him in the chest."
Dave added: "I was a good footballer in my time, but Taylor was even better.
"He liked the skills, and he liked being the player scoring the goals.
"We were talking about football just the other day, and who was going to win the Euros.
"He would always ask me about football. He would say: 'What's the score dad?'"
Taylor grew up and went to school in Muswell Hill, but his family moved to the outskirts of London following the stabbing, out of concern for his safety.
"We moved to get him away. This is why we can't understand what's gone on," said Dave.
"We want everyone to know Taylor was a good kid.
"He was a loving boy. He would always help his mum. He would clean up after himself. He was always playing with his sister, and he would rap with his brother.
"He became less confident after the stabbing and didn't want to go certain places. If he went out he took a cab because he was scared for his life.
"In the last couple of weeks he seemed happier.
"He said he wanted to get a job, to start up driving, have a girlfriend, to go on holiday. Everything normal.
"He was talking about it a lot with me and his mum, and we were talking about going to see his nan in Jamaica next year."
Mr Cox said the loss was going to impact the family for the rest of their lives.
"We aren't going to get over it because we all miss him. He brightens up all of our lives and that spark has gone.
"We have got to live with that forever."
He called for the violence to stop and for young people to be having fun rather than "running for their lives."
Jaden McGibbon, 19, of Warltersville Road, Islington appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on June 14.
He has been remanded in custody until his next appearance at the Old Bailey, at a date to be confirmed.
A crowd funder has been set up to support Taylor's mother and father, and to help cover Taylor's funeral costs.