Mum of victim of gun nut Connor Chapman calls for end to violence after teens knife to death
EXCLUSIVE: THE mother of a victim of gun maniac Connor Chapman (above) has called for an end to Britain's serious violence epidemic after a teenaged girl was knifed to death in a senseless attack on her way to school... and just weeks after another of her sons was robbed at knifepoint. Mum of four Helen Atherton revealed that one of her sons was robbed at knifepoint just eight months after Chapman shot her son Harry Loughran outside the Lighthouse Pub in Wallasey Village, Wirral, on Christmas Eve.
She spoke as it emerged that the number of teenagers stabbed to death has more than doubled in the last decade - and after another teen was stabbed to death in Luton on Friday and four others were injured in two separate incidents.
At 4pm two teenage boys were stabbed, one with life threatening injuries, and a man was arrested.
At 7pm three more were stabbed and a boy, 16, later died in hospital and three teenaged boys were arrested on suspicion of murder, with two other boys in hospital.
The dead boy was yesterday (Saturday, September 30) named as Ashraf Habimana (below).
She said: "This has got to stop and the government has got to get a grip. Too many young people are getting hold of guns and knives and using them to kill or maim people. I fear for our children." In the latest attack aspiring lawyer Eliyanna Andam, 15, (below) died after being knifed in the neck with a foot-long blade at about 8:30am on Wednesday in Croydon, south London. She was on her way to the Old Palace of John Whitgift private school, when an attacker said to be known to her struck.
A boy 17, arrested shortly after, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with her murder and possession of a knife and appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Friday, when he was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on October 3.
Ms Atherton (below) said: "This is another case of shocking violence on our streets. Every time I hear about another death or attack it makes me think how it could have turned out for Harry."
Harry, 25, was one of five men injured by gunshots when Chapman opened fire outside the Lighthouse pub on Christmas Eve last year, killing beautician Elle Edwards, 26. He was targeting two men, but fired a Skorpion sub-machine gun indiscriminately into the crowded area, injuring them both and hitting four innocent bystanders, including Elle (below), who died from her injuries, and Harry, who was shot in the arm. In a statement for Chapman's trial, Harry said he had been outside the pub when he saw someone walk around the corner. He said: "They raised a gun and pointed it in the direction where I was." He said he was spun around by the force of his left arm being hit.
"I managed to run inside the pub. When I saw blood on my arm I think I fainted," he added. In August, as the family was recovering from their ordeal, Harry's younger brother Max, 14, was left shaken after being robbed in broad daylight of his electric bike at knifepoint as he walked through Wallasey Cemetery. An older teenager pulled out a large knife from the waistband of his trousers and demanded the bike, on Sunday, August 20 at around 4.45pm. Ms Atherton, 54, who has two other sons 13 and 31, said: "Max is still shocked, upset, not sleeping great or eating well yet, but hoping that he’ll get his bike back. I honestly don’t know how I feel about him having another bike so soon or at all after this. "He was with a friend who had his bike stolen in the same way three days earlier. Max's bike has not been found and they haven't caught anyone. "I see so many kids returning to school now on their bikes and worry for them. I’ve spoken with two local secondary schools and they are going to raise awareness regarding these bike theft crimes that are happening more and more. "Never do you ever think that your own children will be victims of such horrific crimes - one being shot and then another threatened with a knife - and the fact that they’ve happened within eight months of each other is just awful. "Harry has made a good recovery physically but obviously this recent incident with his brother has really distressed him. "When I think back to Christmas Eve and that initial phone call I received from Harry I could never have imagined how hard the following days, weeks and months were going to be supporting him and my other sons, not to mention my elderly parents when I myself was hiding the fact I felt broken for him. "You’re suddenly head deep in dealing with a situation you’ve absolutely no experience of dealing with and have to find the strength to do your very best. "And just as you think you’ve all got to a good place for this to then happen to Max has been terrible." Chapman, 23, was jailed for life with a minimum of 48 years for the murder of Elle and injuring the five others at Liverpool Crown Court in July. He had gone there to shoot Kieran Salkeld and Jake Duffy in retaliation for an earlier beating of one of his associates. Merseyside Police confirmed no arrests had been made in connection with the bike robbery and investigations are ongoing. Detective Inspector Anna Hackett said: “This would have been extremely distressing for the boy and we are determined to find the person responsible." Chief Inspector of Wirral Community Policing Tom Welch added: “There has understandably been concern in our communities in relation to knife crime recently and we are determined to take these dangerous weapons off the streets."