'It destroys your life': Families of fatally stabbed teenagers share their grief

  • Watch three women who lost loved ones to knife crime come together to discuss its impact as they try to rebuild their lives.

The relatives of teenagers who have been fatally stabbed have come together to discuss the heartbreaking impact of knife crime on them and their families.

In many parts of the country, including the South West, the numbers of offences have more than doubled in eight years.

Since Christmas, four teenagers have been killed by knife crime in Bristol alone. 

Some of the women who know first-hand what it’s like to lose someone have come together with ITV News West Country to share their experiences. 

Ramarni was just 16-years-old when he was stabbed to death Credit: Gloucestershire Police

Viv Clifford lost her 16-year-old grandson Ramarni Crosby when he was stabbed to death in Gloucester in 2021. 

Four people were jailed for his manslaughter following a trial.

Since her grandson's death, Viv has campaigned and raised money for the Ramarni Crosby Trust to prevent knife crime and save lives.

Ben Moncrieff was 18 when he was killed in Bath city centre

Sharon Hendry’s 18-year-old son Ben Moncreiff was murdered in Bath in May last year.

His attacker was a 16-year-old from South London who was jailed for life.

Hayley Ryall’s 16-year-old son Mikey Roynon, from Kingswood, was stabbed in the neck with a large zombie knife during a fight which broke out at a party in June 2023.

Three teenagers were found guilty of killing him earlier this month.

Mikey Roynon was stabbed to death at a house party in Bath Credit: Family handout

'People say time helps, it doesn't'

Viv Clifford told ITV News West Country of her day-to-day struggles since losing her grandson.

She said: "Initially at the beginning you’re in a bubble, you’re in a grief bubble. And then slowly you start coming back into family life, work life.

"There are days when you have a good giggle with your work colleagues or friends and family and then you do feel guilty straight after. 

"As soon as you do it you come back to earth and you think 'why am I laughing?'

"I’m just devastated inside, but life has to go back to normal unfortunately but it will never be normal for any of us.

"People say time helps, it doesn’t."

Ben Moncrieff had hopes to start his own business. Credit: Family handout

Sharon Hendry, the mother of Ben Moncreiff, said: "I think the hardest thing is just getting out of bed and just waking up to the reality of what’s happened every single day.

"It doesn’t get easier, it gets harder.

"I just feel sad all the time - you’ve got the grief, you’ve got the anger. Day to day, it destroys your life.

"It’s a massive hole and you can physically feel it and you can’t do anything about it.

"Everything is tainted, even the birds singing and the sun coming up, everything feels wrong.

"The pain is a life sentence."

The women sat down with ITV News West Country.

'I keep his shoes by the back door still'

Hayley Ryall, the mother of Mikey Roynan, said: "You learn to live with your tummy turning over all the time and your heart feeling broken.

"It’s something you have to learn to live with because it doesn’t get any better, that doesn’t stop.

"I still pretend that he’s going to come home. I keep his shoes by the back door still.

"Going into a new year, I didn’t want to come out of last year because you don’t want to leave them behind."

Calls for change

When asked if they could see things improving in the future, all three women said “no”.

They discussed what they felt needed to change in the wake of the recent stabbings to prevent further tragedies.

Viv said: "It’s a combination of things - lack of police being able to stop and search, lack of youth clubs so kids have somewhere to go so they can be nurtured. It’s about society in general."

"There needs to be a change in young attitudes because I always say cowards carry knives", Sharon added.

During a visit to the West Country, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked about whether the government will act following the recent series of fatal stabbings in the West Country.

"We are making progress, knife crime overall has come down - partly because we have put more police officers on the streets. 20,000 more officers, of which around 160 odd are in Gloucestershire for example", he said.

"We've given them more powers, stop and search which is helpful. All of that has helped contribute to the fall, but every child, every person who dies tragically to knife crime is a child too many so me must keep doing more."

Hayley said she welcomed the Prime Minister's points but added, "something has to change".

"It won’t be this generation, there’s no way, but can we do it for the next?", she said.

It's the first time the women have come together to talk about their experiences.

Last month race campaigners criticised Avon and Somerset Police's use of emergency stop and search powers, saying some people in the community felt "targeted".

However the force said the decision was taken to mitigate an 'unprecedented' surge in knife crime in Bristol.

Viv said she supported the police's decision to make use of those powers.

"Ramarni was mixed heritage. I’d rather Ramarni was stopped and searched 50 times a day than be up on a murder charge or have been murdered. I think every parent needs to look at that", she said.

She went on to say people need to be "alert" to the possibility of someone around them being in posession of a blade.

"Be more alert for the younger kids", she said. "If you hear or know of somebody carrying a knife then tell an adult."

The women were asked what they would miss most about their loved ones.

Sharon said: "It was just me and Ben at home, it’s just so quiet now. Ben was just always happy, I can still hear his laugh now.

"I’ve got pictures everywhere, because I don’t ever want to not talk about Ben. Mother’s day was the worst."

Viv said: "Romarni had the most beautiful smile and giggle. He was such a social animal. Even now I go up to his grave and there’s kids there that go there and visit him and I think that shows a lot to his character.

"I still struggle to look at Romarni’s pictures at home. It’s so painful."

Hayley said: "The cheekiness, the giggles. Mikey loved his family dearly, had a whole lot of love for us, a lot of respect for us as well.

"He was my friend, I miss my friend."