Dagenham mum releases image of stabbed son: ‘This is horrific outcome of wielding a knife’
- Credit: Supplied by Tyler's family
A Dagenham mother has released this horrifying image of her son fighting for his life in intensive care to warn others about the devastating consequences of knife crime.
Unconscious and with bloodied tubes inserted in his nose, Tyler Dawson lies critically ill in a hospital bed.
The 18-year-old suffered appalling injuries when he was stabbed in the groin in an attack by a 17-year-old boy.
Tyler nearly died four times before doctors managed to stabilise him.
His right leg had to be amputated at the groin and he suffered mild brain damage. But he survived.
His mother Kerry Dawson appealed to teenagers: “That’s the outcome, look at him. Look at my boy. Do you want to be losing your limbs, if not your life? Stop being cowards. Stop hiding behind weapons and blades.”
Kerry has demanded tough action to tackle the spiralling bloodshed from stabbings.
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It comes as a Post 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.
Today we lauch a special four-part series of reports on knife crime in the borough.
Kerry remembers vividly the day she recieved a phone call saying Tyler had been attacked.
“It was a Friday afternoon, I’ll never forget this in my life,” says the 43-year-old. “I’d just come back with my little ‘un from school. I was only here five or 10 minutes and then his mate phoned me and said ‘Tyler’s been stabbed’. I just threw everything and ran.
“My blood just ran cold, I didn’t know what to think or feel. It was just so automatic, just go to him.”
Although Kerry had been aware of stabbings in Barking and Dagenham and a rise in youngsters riding mopeds “terrorising her estate”, she says she never believed her own son would become a victim.
But Tyler’s world changed forever in a few seconds on the afternoon of June 23.
He and a friend were walking from Dagenham Heathway shopping centre when two youths on bikes cycled up to him off Blackborne Road. One took out a flick knife and stabbed Tyler in the groin. Tyler managed to stagger to a nearby flat and collapsed in a bathtub.
His mum rushed to the scene and watched in horror as her son was stretchered away to an ambulance.
When she arrived at hospital, Kerry was asked if she wanted a priest to read the last rites as doctors were unsure if Tyler would survive.
“He was in surgery for five-and-a-half hours,” says Kerry. “I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. People are talking to me and it’s going in and going straight back out again. Then they brought him out and took him into the intensive care unit and I took one look at them tubes, him laying there, and I ran back out. I couldn’t deal with it.”
Kerry has today published photographs of Tyler’s injuries in a bid to highlight the devastating consequences of using a knife.
Former Dagenham Park School pupil Tyler had hopes of getting an apprenticeship in brick-laying or painting and decorating, and was about to sit his driving theory test before the attack.
He has a vast gaping cavity wound on his stomach from the repeated medical interventions to stop him bleeding to death and suffered mild brain damage that affects his short term memory.
Kerry says Tyler “died four times” in hospital.
“Even the doctors and nurses, everyone in the intensive care unit called him a miracle,” she says. “I ended up calling him my miracle boy, because you can’t die that many times and come back.”
The impact on Tyler’s family has stretched far beyond his injuries.
No longer able to work, Kerry has had to give up her job as a kitchen assistant at a care home and is now Tyler’s full-time carer. She says her son’s personality has completely changed and he is not able to leave the house without her or stay at home if she is not there.
Her two younger children had to “practically live with my neighbour” during the months she was visiting seriously ill Tyler in hospital.
“I was coming home, sleeping, getting up, getting dressed and going straight to hospital,” she said. “And that was my life. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my two kids, but Tyler needed me more.”
In November, a month after Tyler eventually came home from hospital, his attacker, Dagenham teenager Ce-jay Furzer, was due to stand trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Tyler was wheeled into court to watch as Furzer, who can be named after the Post applied for reporting restrictions to be lifted, changed his plea to guilty at the last minute before the trial began and admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The previous day, CCTV footage gathered by police had been disclosed to his defence team showing Furzer’s movements in the hours before and after the attack.
The Dawson family were in court again last month to see the 17-year-old sentenced to nine years and 10 months, a prison term Tyler’s mum says was more than they “had dared hope for”.
But Kerry believes the courts and society generally is failing to send out a tough message on knife crime.
She has called for more powers for police and parents to discipline young people and for the return of national service for teenagers who leave school without a job. She believes everyone has a part to play to stop knives being wielded as weapons.
“I want to make people aware of knife crime and how it affects people, especially the youngsters who think it’s fine to carry a blade,” she said. “They think they’re hard and clever. Half of them don’t realise the consequences. Look at my boy. That’s the outcome, look at him. And that’s a lucky outcome to be honest.”
Tyler, who says he has never carried a knife, added: “It’s not good man. The end result is never good. Never.”
Data shows steep rise in youth knife crime
The Post’s research has shown a steep rise in knife crime affecting young people in Barking and Dagenham.
Figures from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime show the number of under-25s injured in knife attacks in the borough has gone up by 178 per cent compared to five years ago - the third steepest rise in the capital.
There were 50 victims of knife injuries in the 12 months to October 2017 - meaning statistically one under-25 every week was the victim of a stabbing.
But knife attacks on under-25s in the borough actually fell by seven per cent compared to October 2016 and Barking and Dagenham experiences relatively low levels of knife crime compared to other areas of the capital.
Police figures show the borough ranks 17th of 33 in London for all recorded knife crimes, with 321 offences in 2016-17.
Southwark had the highest levels of knife crime in the capital with 840 offences recorded last year.
Det Supt Jane Scotchbrook, who is in charge of neighbourhood policing across the East Area Command, said: “We want to reassure people that the likelihood of a knife crime happening is relatively low. But when it does happen it’s a serious matter and we will do everything we can to reduce and eradicate knife crime.”
NEXT WEEK: In the second of the posts special reports mother of knife victim Ricky Hayden says ‘There’s no justice’