The faces of those killed over Christmas after my festive murder prediction became tragically true
AS a reporter of more than 20 years, it was several years ago that I noticed a trend that there would usually be at least one murder over the festive season.
Be it on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, there was always at least one even in a localised area like the south Essex patch I covered.
Mostly, they were domestics, involving too much booze and some family or relationship issue that came to a head in the confines of the home, or the result of a petty argument on a drunken night out.
After moving to the nationals in 2015, I noticed the theme continued.
Murder at any time of the year is bad, but it is highlighted more so by the Christmas season, a time when we are all supposed to come together.
So, when I wrote this tweet on Thursday, December 23, it was with sincerity.
But, did I really think someone planning a murder would see it and think twice? At just over 1,000 impressions, probably not, but it would be good if they did. Often the types of murders at this time of the year are not planned anyway and in the heat of the moment.
I still suspected there would be at least one murder on one of those days, however, there seems to have been even more than usual in just a few days since that tweet.
When I wrote it at 12:34pm, I didn't know that hours earlier the same day Billy Moore, 31, died and a murder probe was launched by Merseyside Police.
Emergency Services were called to an address in Yardley Avenue, Warrington, following reports that a man had sustained serious injuries on December 22 at around 10.44pm. He died in the early hours of December 23.
James Ireland, of Lodge Lane, has been charged with murder. The 41-year-old is due to appear before Chester Magistrates' Court.
I also did not know that within four days of my tweet that at least five more people would be murdered.
I say at least, as these are just the ones I have seen break over Christmas.
Four hours after my tweet Courtney Boone, 20, (top left above) was found in a critical condition at a flat in a tower block on Quarry Green in Northwood, Kirkby, Liverpool, just after 4.40pm She was taken to hospital but despite the efforts of emergency workers, she was sadly pronounced deceased.
Liam Cain, 19, of Skipton Road, Anfield has been charged with her murder.
He has been remanded into custody and will appear in court tomorrow on Wednesday, December 28. On Christmas Eve, still in Liverpool, came a murder that has shocked the nation, when Elle Edwards, 28, (top right above) was shot on the head outside the Lighthouse Inn in Wallasey Village, Wirral, at about 11:50pm.
Police believe the gunman had intended to hit someone else and four men, were injured, including a 28-year-old who remains critical.
This attack does appear to have been planned and according to sources stems from tit-for-tat disputes and fights between rival mid-tier organised crime gangs.
By Christmas Day, the murder moved to London.
Police attended a residential address in Holloway Road, Islington, at 4:55pm on Sunday, December 25, following concerns for the welfare of a resident.
They found a man with a stab injury and immediately provided first aid. The London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance also attended. Despite their efforts, Claudius Francis, 54, (bottom left above) was pronounced dead at the scene.
Amar Nafazy, 55, of Holloway Road, north London, was charged on Monday, 26 December. He appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court today (Tuesday, 27 December) when the case was adjourned.
A night out in Birmingham on Boxing day ended in tragedy for a 23-year-old man who was stabbed to death on the dance floor at 11:45pm.
Footballer Cody Fisher (bottom right above) died shortly after - no one has been arrested.
Within half an hour of his death, Detectives in Greater Manchester launched a murder investigation after a man was killed in a suspected stabbing in Salford. Police were alerted by paramedics to the fatal attack, which happened near Clarendon Park, off Liverpool Street in the city.
The man, whose age has not been revealed, was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers were called just after midnight. No-arrests have been made.
My prediction has tragically become horrifically true.
What is going on in society that murders are so commonplace at this, and anytime of year?
And does anyone care anymore or have we become desensitized?
I have been headlining murder reports on this website as "Just Another Murder" for the past two years to try to hammer this point home, but they get some of the lowest viewings of any of my articles. It seems that it is a case of "just another murder" and very few people are shocked or take any notice anymore.
It will be interesting to see how many more there maybe before the year is out and what happens next year.
The Home Office is launching a pilot in 2023 whereby all adult murders involving a weapon will be reviewed to see if anything could have been done to prevent it.
Will it make any difference? It has been on the cards for over a year and still not got rolling - so no urgency from the Government.
Only time will tell.