Friends of murdered Gateshead schoolboy Tomasz Oleszak warn others against carrying a knife

Credit: Main photo - TYne Tees
Tomasz - Northumbria Police/ Family photo
Tomasz Oleszak, 14, was stabbed to death in Whitehills Nature Park in Gateshead in October. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees/ Northumbria Police/Family Photo
  • Watch Julia Barthram's Video Report from 10 May.

Teenagers in Gateshead are warning others not to carry knives following the murder of their friend last year.

Tomasz Oleszak, 14, was stabbed to death in Whitehills Nature Park in Gateshead in October.

Last month, schoolboy Leighton Amies, was convicted of his murder. He is due to be sentenced in June.

On Wednesday 10 May, a special assembly was held at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, in memory of Tomasz and attended by his family.

Friends recounted their memories of Tomasz, and used the event to try to stop others from carrying knives.

Keegan Bain was emotional when he told those gathered: "Being friends with Tom from a young age was just amazing, all the memories we had together. 

"Sleeping at each other's houses every day and playing on each others trampoline, fighting each other.  It breaks your heart."

Nidal Hijazi, another friend, said: "If you're carrying a knife for protection, really don't because you're not protecting yourself or others that will potentially get injured because of the knife."

Lucy Brannan added: "You're not just ruining their life, you're ruining your life, your family's life and everyone's life. It's impacting everyone, it's not worth it."

During the assembly, money raised at a charity football match in Tomasz's memory was donated to help fight knife crime.

Samantha's Legacy is a North East Charity that was set up to tackle knife crime after Samantha Madgin was stabbed to death in 2007. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

It was given to Samantha's Legacy, a charity set up by the family of Samantha Madgin another teenager, lost to knife crime, in the North East.

Samantha's mother, Alison Madgin, set up the organisation following her death. She said: "Today was very emotional, hearing it from the young people, seeing Tomasz's family, his mam. 

"It takes you back there yourself, all the emotions coming, unfortunately all the bad times ahead.  But also today there was so much positivity in the room."

Samantha's sister Carly Barrett, also representing the charity, added: "We just want to fight this, we don't want any other families to go through this, we want to prevent it.

"We want to raise awareness, and these young children that we've met today are examples of those young people who are going to carry the messages for us and for Tomasz."

Liam Cumiskey, from Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, said: "Tomasz's mam, when I spoke to her recently said good people, attract good people.

"I think that's highlighted here, because we have good kids who are supporting their friend who they've lost. He was clearly such a good and popular young lad."

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