Guest comment: ‘Islington needs to wake up to the reality of knife crime’

Michelle McPhillips by a memorial wall for her son, JJ, in Milner Square, Islington. Picture: Polly

Michelle McPhillips by a memorial wall for her son, JJ, in Milner Square, Islington. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

I heard about Marcel Campbell’s death while driving on Monday evening. My heart fell to my feet. I lost concentration and nearly crashed the car.

In February last year, my son JJ was killed yards from where Monday’s tragedy happened. I was absolutely devastated to learn that once again, someone had been stabbed to death in Upper Street.

It brought back that first phone call I got, saying JJ had been stabbed. That panic. That sick feeling.

I’m thinking of his family this week. It’s flooring. They will be in total shock. They will be questioning why this would happen to their child. Why someone would want to harm him with that severity.

Look at Upper Street. No one would believe it would be a murder scene. No one would believe it’s a street where someone would walk up to another human being and put a knife in them.


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But here’s the thing: Islington needs to wake up.

It’s not the posh place everyone thinks it is. We have a problem on our streets – people are being targeted and killed. It’s happening on our major roads.

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This is a sophisticated borough in a sophisticated city. Why on earth is this happening? Animals don’t do this sort of thing to each other.

It’s not to do with the Prime Minister, it’s not to do with the mayor of London, it’s the community. If we don’t pull together, this will keep happening. The police need our help. If you see people carrying weapons, tell them.

My heart is broken for the victim’s family. This shouldn’t happen to any family.

Michelle McPhillips is the mum of Upper Street stab victim Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips and an anti-knife crime campaigner.

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