One of Britain’s most experienced barristers who appeared in dozens of court cases involving murders and stabbings is spearheading a drive to tackle knife crime.
Fighting Knife Crime London is working together with students and staff at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University and they hope to develop a similar resource for Sheffield.
Bruce Houlder successfully prosecuted the Duchess of York’s former aide Jane Andrews who killed her boyfriend with a cricket bat and a kitchen knife.
The retired QC, who was also a part-time Crown Court judge, has set up a groundbreaking online platform to provide support for all those affected by knife crime and gang violence.
The website, www.fightingknifecrime.london, goes live at 0630 today (Tuesday June 1).
It will provide an up-to-date news facility, a regular online magazine, video resources, a research area and a highly accessible directory of key organisations.
The aim is for it to become the most constructive area for collaboration for anyone seeking or offering help to disaffected young people.
Houlder felt it was time to act after spending half-a-century “hearing the testimony of some of the most tragic human stories that one could imagine”.
He said: “For years, I called witnesses and teased their painful stories from them.
“I had met them and seen how their lives had been shattered and I had begun to understand how many who found themselves on the wrong side of the law had got there in the first place,” added Houlder.
“Those that had done wrong received the punishment that society demanded...but what did we really offer to give these young people hope?”
“This website offers a window into a world of information and collaborative opportunity.
“We can locate the pitfalls into which so many young lives have fallen, and provide the stepping-stones, the bridges and a destination for their hopes,”
The 73 year old, who was himself the victim of a knifepoint robbery during a legal conference in Brazil, spent 18 months compiling the site. It has secured £50,000 in donations to keep operating for three years.