A mum whose son was murdered five years ago spoke today of her never ending heartbreak – and determination that no more parents and sons should suffer her pain.
Jackie Nicholson, aged 49, whose son Brett Blake was stabbed to death in a city centre nightclub by childhood friends torn apart by a gang rift, told The Star: “To be murdered by two lads he grew up with is unbearable to think about.
“My advice to parents now is don’t let them listen to the music, watch the TV shows or films, or play the computer games that portray black people as gangsters and glorify that lifestyle.
“My heart is broken and it’s a nightmare to get up in the morning and face the day.”
Brett, 23, was murdered in June 2008 when postcode gang wars were at their height in Sheffield.
His and his killers Danny Hockenhull and Curtis Goring were members of the city’s S3 postcode gang, and had been friends since they were children.
“I went to school with one of his killer’s mums,” said Jackie. “They don’t think of those things when they are out in town. It’s all about street cred and not losing face.”
A month later teenager Tarek Chaiboub was murdered in Burngreave, a week after attending Brett’s funeral.
But today Sheffield Council revealed it is winning the war on tackling the gun culture of previous years.
It is running a Home Office funded programme, No More Wasted Lives – and violent crime in Sheffield is now the lowest among the country’s biggest cities outside London.
Last month Sheffield’s most senior judge Alan Goldsack QC said upon his retirement South Yorkshire Police deserved praise for tackling postcode gangs in the city.
He said a combination of dedicated policing, and courts handing down long jail sentences of 30 years and more, was creating a deterrent to young men at risk of getting involved in gangs.
South Yorkshire Police District Commander Chief Superintendent David Hartley said today: “Eradicating gang culture, weapons and firearms from the streets of Sheffield is part of our daily business through specialist officers and patrol officers alike.
“We have made huge inroads year on year, contributing to Sheffield being the safest city in the country, with violent and armed offences falling.
“There is still much work to dso, but with the bravery and commitment I see every day from frontline officers, I am confident we can continue to drive gang culture and violence down further.”