Knife crime campaigner warns of youth violence 'pandemic' during Northampton school visit

  • Wayne Headman spoke to ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

A knife crime campaigner warned that the country is in the grip of a "pandemic when it comes to serious youth violence" as he addressed classmates of a teenager who was stabbed to death.

Wayne Headman from the anti-violence organisation Exodus was speaking at Kingsthorpe College in Northampton, where friends of teenager Rohan "Fred" Shand were among the audience.

Fred died after being stabbed in an altercation in the town in March, and two boys have been charged with his murder.

The college arranged the workshop about knife crime to warn pupils about the dangers of carrying knives and to educate them on making the right choices.

"Every single one of us has a responsibility to each other, to take care of each other," Mr Headman told students.

"We're here to talk about some of the recent incidents that have taken place in the community and to spread some awareness," he added.

Rohan Shand was stabbed on his way home from Kingsthorpe College, Northampton. Credit: Family photo

Insp Rodney Williams of Northamptonshire Police said: "Sometimes it can be a fashion statement among the youths to carry knives.

"But I think if there is a concerted effort by us all, we can make a difference and make an impact on the carrying of knives."

Students at Kingsthorpe College, Northampton watching workshop on knife crime. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Students watching the workshop said they had taken important messages from Mr Headman's presentation.

Salieu Mansaray said: "If you're in now, get out or you're dead later, in my opinion. It's just best to help yourself with words instead of knives."

Charlotte Fleetwood-Smith added: "I think it's really important to spread awareness about [knife crime] and I think it's really important that people should know what to do if they encounter anything to do with it."

Thomas Manning said: "If you do it, it's endangering other people - so I think if you don't do it, it's just better for the whole community."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know