Radio Sandwell Featured News

One knife, one life - more than one sentence

2013-03-07 17:35:58

Knife crime in the West Midlands is falling with 1,445 fewer offences in 2011/2012 compared to the same period in 2008/2009. However, just one victim is one too many and West Midlands Police remains committed to driving knife crime down even further.

Anyone found to be carrying a knife in a public place could face a prison sentence of at least four years.

But under 'joint enterprise' rules, prosecutors also have the power to bring before the courts people who were present when a crime was committed so that all face the same serious charges.

The Knives End Lives campaign aims to raise awareness of the real consequences of carrying a knife and the risk people face if caught in the company of someone who they know is armed.

Our message is - if someone has a knife and you know they are going to use it, you risk being punished too.

Knives end lives - don't let that knife end yours. Tell police on 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.

Just one wound inflicted by a knife can be fatal - in this video a victim's sister and a surgeon from a Birmingham hospital discuss how that fact has proved to be true for them.

Sonya's brother, 21 year-old Yajay Sudra from Birmingham, was stabbed in the street in a random attack on his way home from work in July 2010. He made it back home where he sadly died from a single stab wound to his heart. His sister Sonya tells of her family's heartache over Jay's senseless killing to help raise awareness of the impact knife crime on not only the victims, but also the people they leave behind.

Reducing knife crime

* Some of the tactics the force uses to address knife crime include:

* Walk through knife arches at bus, tram and railway stations - as well as schools, colleges and universities as part of pop-up action days

* Hard hitting presentations to teenagers in local schools

* Reminders for teachers of their powers to search students and how to do so safely

* Traffic police using hand-held metal detectors to search drivers as part of intelligence led patrols

* Visits to shopkeepers to remind them of their responsibilities when selling knives - including undercover 'test purchase' operations, in conjunction with trading standards officers, to ensure that traders are adhering to the law and checking the age of buyers.

Case study

A 17-YEAR-OLD Rednal lad was jailed for seven years in January 2013 for stabbing a student in an unprovoked attack.

His victim - a 19-year-old university student from Surrey - was knifed five times in the elbow, chest and abdomen and spent months in Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital recovering from his injuries.

The lad who was jailed was sentenced alongside four of his friends who had been with him on the night of the attack and who had known he was carrying a knife but didn't tell police.

Over the course of the four-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the jury heard how in the early hours of 27 April 2012 the group had roamed the streets of Birmingham goading innocent passers by. They had earlier been drinking at one of their homes where the attacker had shown his friends the deadly three-inch long knife.

At around 1am, the gang saw their victim on Bristol Street who had been returning home from a night out with his girlfriend. 

A 16-year-old girl who was in the group then started to punch the woman while the four lads attacked the student. It was during this attack that one of the teenagers held their victim from behind while another repeatedly stabbed him.

Despite his serious wounds, the student broke free and ran away, collapsing just metres from his front door on Belgrave Middleway.

Following painstaking enquiries, all five gang members were rounded up in the minutes and hours after the attack.

Detectives pushed all five to be prosecuted for the same offence under a legal doctrine known as 'joint enterprise'. This is where prosecutors have the power to bring before the courts people who were present when a crime was committed so that all face the same charges.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis, from the force's Criminal Investigation Department, said: "Joint enterprise means that two or more people who embark on a project with a common purpose which results in the commission of a crime can be charged with the main offence regardless of their role.

"As this case demonstrates, joint enterprise is reserved for all but the most serious offences and it is rare for police forces to push for joint venture prosecutions in this way.

"Our determination to bring those responsible to justice reflects the seriousness with which West Midlands Police - and society in general - regards knife crime."

Report it

Play your part in reducing knife crime by reporting people you know or suspect may be carrying a knife.

Call your local police on 101, or dial 999 if a crime is in progress or a life is in danger.

If you can't talk to police, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 and give information about crime anonymously.

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