Heartfelt plea made to young people by families of Bournemouth knife crime victims

Cameron Hamilton's grandmother and the mother of Tom Roberts speak to ITV News Meridian's Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford

The heartbroken families of two young men stabbed to death in separate knife crime attacks in a seaside town are urging young people to stop carrying weapons.

18-year old Cameron Hamilton was killed in August 2023 following a fight in the centre of Bournemouth while 21-year old Tom Roberts was stabbed to death in March 2022 following an argument over an e-scooter in the town.

Their families are supporting a campaign by authorities in Dorset to crack down on knife crime and educate young people from carrying knives.

Watch: Cameron Hamilton's grandmother Tracy Jose says it's devastating to hear of other young people becoming victims of knife crime

The police and local authorities say Bournemouth is still one of the safest places in the country.

Tracy Jose, Cameron Hamilton's grandmother said, "After the death of Cam I sent off an email to 20 plus local agencies because I just felt this can't happen.

"Cam was a lovely lad. It's just shocking. I hope it will stop kids carrying knifes, raise awareness, get people talking about it, it's got to stop.

"Sadly we're part of a club we don't want to be part of and to see all of these kids dying...you know what their families are going through. It's got to stop.

"There's no words to describe what our family is going through. It's been nine months we're all devastated. Our lives will never be the same. We live in a warped sense of reality now that we never thought would be."

It's hoped the LivesBeforeKnives campaign will stop young people carrying weapons Credit: ITV News Meridian

The #LivesNotKnives campaign involves Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council along with Dorset Police.

Workshops in public spaces and schools will be taking place to target 14-20 year olds about the dangers of carrying a weapon. Cameron's grandmother is also runnning a campaign called #changesaremade.

Dolores Roberts-Wallace, Tom Roberts' mother said, "It took 24 seconds, two stab wounds, to kill my son on that day.

"The hardest part for me is not seeing him, not saying goodbye to him, and that's all the family as well.

"Not saying goodbye is the hardest part for me. I was disbelieving it because it's a shock for me to listen to the phone call that told me I had to go to the hospital. It was shocking.

"By communicating, I hope to educate children not to carry knives and for them to take this seriously."

Councillor Kieron Wilson, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regulatory Services, BCP Council, said, "We are fully committed to tackling the issue of knife crime across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

"Our partnership approach ensures we are taking proactive steps to address this serious issue head-on to enable us to put an end to the devastating impacts of knife crime.

"In addition to safeguarding our young people, we're also committed to creating a safer environment for all residents across the conurbation."

Local Policing Commander for Bournemouth, Chief Superintendent Heather Dixey, said, "Dorset Police supports this initiative whole-heartedly. Some people think they might be safer carrying a knife, whereas in reality it only puts them in danger.

"It only takes one silly decision to ruin a family’s life and, together with our partners, we want to prevent this heartache from happening and stop knives being used on the streets in Dorset."

Watch: Chief Superintendent Heather Dixey has this warning for young people carrying knives

Tracy Jose added, "Cam went out and he never came home."

"I think it's got to be talked about, honest, open and frank conversations. There needs to be honest conversations around knife crime.

"Some say it's for protection I think if you are carrying a knife it's more likely you'll be stabbed. Cameron wasn't carrying a knife that night and if there hadn't been a knife there that night Cameron would still be alive.

"If it stops one kid carrying a knife, if it stops one kid being killed, then every thing we have done will be worth it."

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