Mother of murdered Islington schoolboy Martin Dinnegan urges shops to help in fight against street crime

Lorraine Dinnegan with pupils from Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls

Lorraine Dinnegan with pupils from Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls - Credit: Archant

The mother of murdered 14-year-old Martin Dinnegan this week claimed her son might have survived if more businesses were willing to help young people in danger, as she fronts a campaign urging them to do just that.

Martin Dinnegan

Martin Dinnegan - Credit: Archant

Lorraine Dinnegan is spearheading the CitySafe Havens scheme, which is dedicated to Martin’s memory and urges shops, restaurants and other businesses to offer refuge to youngsters who are at immediate risk from street crime.

Speaking to the Gazette on Monday, she reflected on the moment she says one of her son’s friends appealed to a shopkeeper for help and was turned away, as the violence that ultimately claimed his life escalated.

Mrs Dinnegan, 45, of Barnsbury, said: “It must have been about 10 or 15 minutes before he was stabbed. The boy went into a chicken shop and was shouting something is going to happen, but he was told to get out.

“The police could have been informed. They could have been called at that time and who knows, maybe Martin would still be here.”

Martin Dinnegan was stabbed four times on June 26, 2007, and bled to death in Tollington Way, Holloway, in his brother’s arms.

He had been a promising pupil at St Aloysius College in Hornsey Lane, Archway.

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Mrs Dinnegan noted that a teenager tragically shot to death on Saturday was also a St Aloysius pupil. Joseph Burke-Monerville, 19, was killed in Clapton, in what police believe was the result of mistaken identity.

Mrs Dinnegan said: “It’s just dreadful when you hear that. You think, there’s got to be parents and brothers and sisters, and the effect it has on whole community.

“It just makes you realise there’s still so much more work that needs to be done to help these young people. There’s still a fair bit to go.”

Thirteen businesses or public institutions have so far signed up to the CitySafe Havens scheme, which is organised by campaigning group London Citizens. The sites will welcome youngsters in danger and staff will be given training in dealing with emergencies.

Mrs Dinnegan added: “I think about all the incidents that we hear with young people, in situations where they’re in danger and have nowhere to go. It’s really sad when you hear that, but that’s the reality.

“If people know about the safer havens and know where they are, they will feel safer knowing they can go there to seek refuge.

“This is in memory of Martin, but also to all the other young people who have lost their lives.

“The vision is that we would like to see lots more places coming on board. It’s something that’s not beyond us, something we’re all capable of taking part in.”

The latest “havens” are council buildings Islington Town Hall in Upper Street, Islington, and 7 Newington Barrow Way, not for from where Martin died in Holloway.

Last Thursday, Mrs Dinnegan was joined by pupils of Mount Carmel Technology College in Archway at a launch event at Newington Barrow Way.

Others include independent supermarkets, Tesco Express stores, chicken shops and Rowans bowling alley in Finsbury Park.