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Ricky Hayden’s mum: ‘My son’s killer was cautioned for carrying a knife, it’s time for courts to get tough’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 17 January 2018

Ricky Hayden's sister April and mother Suzanne Hedges by Ricky's memorial bench at the Forest Park Crematorium. Picture: Ken Mears

Ricky Hayden's sister April and mother Suzanne Hedges by Ricky's memorial bench at the Forest Park Crematorium. Picture: Ken Mears

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Enough is enough say the grieving family of nightclub bouncer Ricky Hayden, as BETH WYATT and EMMA YOULE report on the devastating consequences of rising knife crime in Barking and Dagenham

Ricky Hayden with two of his nephews. Picture: April Hayden Ricky Hayden with two of his nephews. Picture: April Hayden

The family of a popular bouncer killed in a knife attack has called for tougher sentences and increased use of stop and search to prevent stabbings, as they told the Post: “We didn’t get justice.”

Ricky Hayden’s family have just faced the agony of their second Christmas without him and their grief is raw.

The 27-year-old was stabbed outside his home in Chadwell Heath in September last year.

Ricky, his dad and brother had gone outside to confront two teenagers they thought were trying to steal his brother’s moped and Ricky was knifed in a senseless attack.

A 20-year-old from Chadwell Heath was found not guilty of murder but convicted of manslaughter earlier this year. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison. A second man was acquitted.

Since the trial Ricky’s family have been vocal about their disappointment and what they feel are inadequate punishments doled out by the courts to those in possession of knives.

Hundreds of mourners turned out for the funeral of Ricky Hayden. Picture: Ken Mears Hundreds of mourners turned out for the funeral of Ricky Hayden. Picture: Ken Mears

“We didn’t get the justice we wanted,” said his mum Suzanne Hedges, 50. “People say ‘Do preventative things in schools’, but unfortunately the crime doesn’t just start like that; it starts with drugs, carrying the knife for protection, gangs. If a person goes down that route no one can stop them.”

They spoke to the Post for the second in our special series of reports on knife crime in the borough.

Our investigation has shown knife attacks on under-25s in Barking and Dagenham have increased by 178 per cent in five years, one of the steepest rises in the capital.

Ricky’s mum and sister are thankful to the police who worked on Ricky’s case, but believe officers need more powers and must take full advantage of stop and search.

“If you have nothing to hide, there’s nothing to worry about,” said his mum. “There are people who have a go about it, but at the end of the day the police are doing a job.”

Possession of a knife can carry a sentence of up to four years, even if it is not used, but the family believe the courts are too lenient on first-time offenders and should send a stronger preventative message.

Nightclub bouncer Ricky Hayden was well known in the community. Picture: Ken Mears Nightclub bouncer Ricky Hayden was well known in the community. Picture: Ken Mears

“Nowadays if you carry a knife, you may get caught carrying it, go to court and get a caution,” said Ricky’s mum. “My son’s killer did that, he got cautioned carrying a knife. Three months later my son was dead.”

Ricky’s sister April Hayden, 23, added: “They’re carrying their knives like a mobile phone. You need to get a prison sentence for carrying a knife and stop and search needs to be brought back as soon as possible. If you look around these days people aren’t getting prison sentences. People are getting away with it.”

The run up to Christmas celebrations, birthdays and anniversaries are inevitably painful times for the family, who regularly visit Ricky’s memorial bench.

“Ricky was such a family person, he got involved in everything,” said April. “He used to make everyone giggle and now he’s not here. It’s like everyone’s waiting for Ricky to walk in the door.

“Some days I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. It still doesn’t get to me that he’s actually gone. He was a dad to my son, best brother in the world.”

The family are currently running a campaign raising awareness of knives sold in shops, with the focus on both big and small outlets, in the hope of reducing access.

Ricky's sister April and mother Suzanne say their grief is still raw. Picture: Ken Mears Ricky's sister April and mother Suzanne say their grief is still raw. Picture: Ken Mears

April is worried that it will take “another person being stabbed” before changes are made, while her mother said: “We may not make a difference, but at least we’ll try to make a difference.”

The one thing that has brought the family comfort during this terrible time is realising just how loved Ricky was and how well known he was through his job as a bouncer at Kosho nightclub in Romford.

“As a family we always thought Ricky was a loner; he was always on his phone, bantering, but we never really thought he had such a big group of friends around him,” Suzanne told the Post. “Only when this happened did we realise what a big impact he had on the community.

“We’ve had people messaging and saying ‘You don’t know me, but Ricky helped me. I lost my friends; came out of the club and he got me a cab...’ Even now 15 months along, people are still calling me talking about how much of a gent he was. Ricky was only 27. He didn’t get the rest of his life.”

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Mayor promises ramping up of police stop and search activity

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised police will use increased stop and search to tackle soaring knife crime. Picture: PA/Adam Davy Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised police will use increased stop and search to tackle soaring knife crime. Picture: PA/Adam Davy

Police will “significantly” increase the use of stop and search to tackle soaring knife crime in the capital, the Mayor of London has promised.

Sadiq Khan said the Metropolitan Police will be “ramp up” the

fight against violent crime and make use of intelligence-led stop and search as a “vital tool” to keep people safe.

The Met dramatically reduced the number of random stop and searches in 2012 to improve relations with black and ethnic minority communities, with the tactic criticised as divisive.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mr Khan said: “Met Commissioner Cressida Dick and I are in full agreement that the Met must continue to ramp up their fight against violent crime. Londoners will see a tougher crackdown throughout 2018. This will include a significant increase in the use of targeted stop and search by the police across our city.”

It is a shift in position for the Labour mayor who pledged to drive down the use of stop and search before he was elected in 2016. Mr Khan has been under increasing pressure to get tough on youth violence following 26 teenage homicides in London last year - 20 as a result of stabbings.

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FACT FILE: KEY STATISTICS ABOUT KNIFE CRIME

- How many teenagers were killed in London last year?

Police figures show there were 26 teenage homicides (aged 19 years and under) in the capital in 2017.

Twenty died in stabbings, five in shootings and one of multiple injuries.

- Are knives being carried in schools?

The latest data for 2016 shows the Met Police recorded 85 knife crime offences in schools in London, compared to 71 in 2015 and 67 in 2014.

Police figures show 299 incidents of possession of knives in schools in 2016, up from 236 in 2015 and 203 in 2014.

- Are perpetrators and victims of knife crime in London more likely to be of minority ethnic origin?

Statistically, a disproportionate number of victims and perpetrators of knife crime in the capital are from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

Police ethnicity data shows 60 per cent of people charged with a knife crime in 2016-17 were of BAME origin, while 36 per cent were white.

And 50 per cent of stabbing victims in 2016 were from BAME groups, while 47 per cent were white.

So the majority of victims

and perpetrators are of BAME origin while the capital’s population was 59 per cent

white and 40 per cent BAME groups in 2016.

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NEXT WEEK: Police chiefs lay out tough plans to prevent knife crime, in the third of our special reports.

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