OPINION: Put down your knives

Joe Walker, aged 23, who was killed near Raynald Road, Manor. Joe was stabbed.
Joe Walker, aged 23, who was killed near Raynald Road, Manor. Joe was stabbed.
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Today The Star is making an impassioned plea to South Yorkshire residents who arm themselves with blades to put down their weapons - as a tribute to murdered Sheffield man Joe Walker.

Anyone who has experienced first hand the horrendous pain and sorrow Joe Walker’s parents Paddy Walker and Karen Foulstone are having to endure will understand why.

Their grief is heartbreakingly raw and it is all so senseless.

Not only have they lost their beloved son, his killer has lost his liberty and for what?

Just four months before Joe was stabbed to death by knife-wielding thug Jimmy Connors at a party on the Manor, Joe Walker was enjoying a happy, relaxing family holiday to Egypt to celebrate his mum’s 50th birthday.

That was the family’s final holiday together - full of fun, laughter and smiles.

Now all Joe’s family and friends have is their photographs and their memories.

They have been devastated by grief and their lives will never be the same again.

His father can’t sleep and wears his son’s clothes to feel close to him.

His mother sleeps in her son’s bed every night and says her life has fallen apart.

Knife crime ruins lives - not just the lives of the victims and their loved ones but of the perpetrators and their families too.

Jimmy Connors, a young father of one, will spend his twenties and thirties behind bars for the senseless killing of a man in a drunken attack, all because he carried a knife.

His son will suffer too because he won’t have a father figure in his life.

Anyone who arms themselves with a knife, whether it’s for self defence or other reasons, is putting their own life and liberty and the lives of others at risk.

If you are carrying a knife there is always a chance you will use it - and the consequences can be devastating for all concerned.

So please, in Joe’s memory, do the decent thing and put down your knives.