The mother of a young man murdered with a Samurai sword has spoken out about the impact of cuts to youth services, saying: "What did the government expect?"
Javell Morgan, who lived in Leeds but grew up in Huddersfield, was stabbed at a street party in the Moss Side area of Manchester after the city's Caribbean Carnival on 14 August last year.
The 20-year-old was unarmed at the time violence broke out between two rival groups armed with guns and knives.
Jacob Doughty, 21, and Deontay Crosfield, 22, both from Huddersfield, chased Mr Morgan before he was stabbed five times. They were both found guilty of murder and given life sentences at a trial in May.
Mr Morgan's mother Vicki, speaking publicly for the first time since her son's death, said she would never forgive her son's killers.
But she urged the Government to do more to guide young people away from violence.
"This is the generation where all the youth clubs got taken away, all the funding for things - for kids' summer camps - got taken away. What did the government expect?" she said. "More things need to be in place for these kids."
Manchester Crown Court heard how Mr Morgan was stabbed with a Samurai sword. He died in hospital.
Following a seven week trial, both Doughty and Crosfield were found guilty of murder.
Ms Morgan, who has her son's name tattooed above her eyebrow, said: “I’ll never forgive them for what they’ve done, never. They might have hurt my son in that one split second but me, his sisters, his dad, his family have been hurt for a lifetime."
Speaking about her son, she said: "Everyone loved him, people just gravitated towards him. He would do anything for anyone, he did everything for me."
Ms Morgan was speaking as part of a series of ITV News reports on the national decline of youth service funding, which has coincided with a rise in youth violence.
A report by the YMCA estimated that local government spending on youth services had faced a real-terms cut of around £1 billion since 2010.
In Huddersfield, Kirklees Council closed all of its youth centres in 2017.
Meanwhile, charity the Ben Kinsella Trust says between 2013 and 2022 incidents of knife crime in England and Wales have risen by 75%.
Ms Morgan made a direct appeal to other young people not to get caught up in violence.
She said: “Just don’t do it (carry a knife). You might not like that person, you might want to hurt that person but you’re not just hurting them - you’re hurting the whole family. More so. And for what? To spend your next 20 years in jail? A whole life again in jail? Just don’t do it.”
Kirklees Council's cabinet member for communities, Cllr Mussarat Pervaiz, said the local authority was investing £1 million in safe spaces and activities for young people.
"The council’s approach is to listen, engage and make sure our response is embedded by the people who live here,” he said.
The Government said its National Youth Guarantee (NYG), which was set up in 2022, will give every young person access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home, and volunteering opportunities by 2025.
A spokesperson added: "This (NYG) is backed by an investment of more than £500 million and includes a commitment to build or refurbish up to 300 youth centres, supporting 45,000 more young people every year."
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