1. ITV Report

'He'll murder someone, or get himself killed': Mother of Gloucester gang member describes fear for her son's life

  • Ken Goodwin, Gloucestershire Correspondent, describes meeting the mother of a teenage gang member.

When I first met Louise - not her real name - I was struck by her eyes. They had the look of a tired, worried mother. Not the usual niggles about getting the kids to do their homework, or paying the next bill. No, this was something different.

It was the deep visceral fear of a mum scared that her son is going to murder someone, or get himself killed.

Her teenage son is in a gang. Two years ago, he started carrying knives. Louise knows this because she searched him and found one on him. And then another, a flick knife. And another, a carving knife. Then there were drugs. And knocks on the door from dealers.

Louise is no pushover. She and her partner tried locking him in his bedroom.

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"I think I'm on my third window now" she says, because he's always breaking them "while he's escaping".

Her biggest fear of all - one that keeps her awake at night - is getting a phone call, "Either to say that he's in hospital, or that he's been arrested for murder."

And all this happening in a city where knife crime is increasing - as it is nationally - and where the latest Government figures reveal Gloucestershire has the highest number of youngsters at risk from gangs in the South West, and the amount has more than tripled in the last four years.

I feel that no one wants to admit there's a problem. It's got to a stage where everyone is burying their heads in the sand...they just hope it's going to go away.

– 'Louise'
The woman fears that knife crime in Gloucester could bring harm to her son. Credit: ITV West Country

Louise is getting some help for her son now. But the strong gravitational pull of gangs makes it difficult for some teenagers to escape.

"He seems to think that these people he associates with are his family. He has more loyalty to them than to us"

Louise's final words sum up her sadness and frustration. " People will think he's been badly brought up, but that's not the case. He's in a loving, stable family home. I just don't know what went wrong"

  • Watch Ken's piece in full below: