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The Murder of Isaac Stone - a Mother's Story

 

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Yvette Lendore, mother of Isaac Stone, who was stabbed to death in Bedford on 25 January 2014, has written about her experience of losing her son, as part of the Bedfordshire Police campaign against serious youth violence and knife crime.

The day my son was murdered was like any other day.

My cousin was visiting me, as he does every Saturday, when I got the phone call.

To this day I wrack my brains to think who it was – but I still don’t know.

All I know is that they were hysterical. They were crying and telling me that I need to get to the hospital, Isaac was in trouble, he was hurt.

I told them that they weren’t making any sense and hung up. Then I rang his girlfriend. She was also hysterical and said I had to get to the hospital because Isaac was there.

I hung up and turned around to my cousin and said to him: “Isaac is dead.”

I can’t explain how, but in that instant, I knew my son was dead.

We went to the hospital. There were lots of police cars there, and I remember asking why.

I saw an ambulance with police tape around it and I said to my cousin again: “Isaac is dead.”

We explained to a police officer guarding the entrance to the hospital that I was Isaac’s mum and we were immediately led through to a family room.

Other family members, including my daughter, were already there. We sat there and waited, for what felt like an eternity. After a while it was too much and I demanded to see Isaac.

The doctor came in and told us that he was not going to beat around the bush, they’d done everything they could, but Isaac was dead.

I don’t really remember what happened after that but I know I didn’t say a word.

They say you can be in a room full of people and yet feel alone. And that’s how it felt.

There was so much going on, so much noise, so much grief, but it was all so far away.

I just waited and waited in silence. I wanted to see Isaac.

Then the doctor explained that Isaac had died of multiple stab wounds. He’d been stabbed all over, from his head down.

Up until that point I didn’t know that he had been stabbed. That was what was even more shocking to me – how he had died.

The police came in and explained that I wouldn’t be able to see Isaac that night because of their investigation into his death. They were treating it as murder.

I was finally persuaded to leave the hospital, when I knew for sure I couldn’t see Isaac that night.

Rumour had got round the hospital and almost 100 people had turned up.

I walked down the corridor and Isaac’s friends flanked either side. I’ve never seen such devastation – at that age you’re not used to experiencing death. They couldn’t look at me. They were sobbing uncontrollably.

The next day police came round and explained what they thought had happened to Isaac. Again they told me I couldn’t see him.

I was distraught at this. I remember thinking how he is on his own. I thought, I’m his mum, he must be wondering where I am.

It was four days later on Wednesday when I was finally able to see him.

I didn’t know what to expect when saw him and it was the most horrific thing I’ve ever been through.

He just looked as if he was asleep. He was cold to touch, very cold, and his skin felt hard.

I hadn’t spoken until then. I’d had no words for days – the grief was too much for me.

In some way I think I thought that when I saw Isaac it would be ok.

In the West Indian community, when you are grieving your home becomes an open house with people coming round to pay their condolences.

Every day people from the community were turning up to pay their respects and I remember still not really believing it in some ways – I thought that when he heard my voice he’d wake up and it would all be ok.

So when I spoke to him on that day, and he didn’t respond, that’s when everything came tumbling down for me.

I never got angry at all. I just kept wondering why and how it happened.

But other people were angry. My family were angry. My other children were angry. His friends were angry. And the young people on the streets of Bedford were really angry.

The police asked me to speak to the youth community to calm things down.

As distraught as I was over Isaac’s death, I did not want Isaac’s friends and other youths of Bedford erupting and fighting, attacking each other.

If they did that, it would take police away from the investigation, as the people responsible for Isaac’s death had not yet been found.

On 14 February 2014 four people were charged with the murder of Isaac Stone. They pleaded not guilty and a trial was set.

For weeks, for months, and even now I questioned if I’d missed something. I kept thinking that if I could find what I’d missed then everything would be fine.

As a mum I was used to solving everything. So it was confusing that I couldn’t solve this.

The court process was long. The trial was tiring. Stressful. Hurtful. Horrendous.

It was so hard to see the four of them standing there, and it was difficult to see their parents too. Though I’d lost in the biggest way, I wasn’t the only one to have lost a son.

Mohammed Hussain, Fahim Khan, 20, and Javed and Rubel Miah, all from Bedford were found guilty. They all received a life sentence and must service a minimum of 107 years between them.

After the verdict, one of the police officers involved in the case cried, but I couldn’t cry anymore. I was out of tears.

A lot of people around me were rejoicing but I couldn’t. I was happy they had been found guilty and were going to prison, but I couldn’t rejoice.

They’d got a life sentence – but so had I. My life sentence is not being able to see my son again. All they’d left me with is a hole in the ground and a cross.

I spoke to Isaac the day before he died, and I was due to see him that weekend.

One minute he was there, and the next minute he wasn’t.

I got the clothes he was wearing back and some bits and pieces from his car. That was it.

That’s what people don’t realise about knife and gang crime.

When it comes down to it, whether you’re shot or stabbed, if you die, there’s nothing left for anyone, for your family to remember you by.

For a lot of these youths it’s all about being the big man on the street and impressing their peers. It’s all about refusing to back down, not losing face.

But when I stand at that cemetery week after week, one thing that is very noticeable is this all the graves are the same size and look the same.

Nobody visiting the cemetery cares about what that person’s status was on the street when they were alive – everyone is lying in the same size grave.

I always said to Isaac and his siblings, never ever carry a knife.

The moment you do, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting yourself into a situation when you might be tempted to use it. It’s either your life or someone else’s that’s going to be lost.

Isaac didn’t have a weapon on him when he died, and young people might use the argument that he could’ve defended himself if he had. But I’m glad he didn’t have a knife on him.

Yes he might have lived. But he might still have died. And someone else might have died too. Another parent might have had to go through what I have.

It’s just not worth it. You’re either going to lose your life by going to prison – or you’re going to lose your life and end up dead. It’s as simple as that.

When Isaac died so many of his friends were broken. They don’t understand grief or death as they haven’t experienced it before, let alone at that level. That’s when I realised there’s nothing for that age group, no alternative.

But I’d urge young people not to be tempted into this way of life, and to leave the weapon at home.

You might not care about yourself, but think of your family, your mum.

Your mum is going to be the one in the court room.

Your mum is going to be the one at the grave.

Your mum is going to be the one sitting there crying, not understanding how her life has come to this.

And you’re not going to be there for your mum.

It’s just not worth it.

Isaac was 19 when he died.

He loved football and he loved music. He just loved life.

I am lucky in some ways. Because of his music, I have lots of recordings of him laughing, joking, talking, singing. But I will never hear his voice in person again.

At just over two years on, I worry that I don’t remember his voice, so I put on his music – that’s all I’m left with.

Thanks to those four men and a knife, he’ll never play football again. There’ll be no more music from him.

He’ll never get married, never have a career, and never have children of his own.

And my life will never be the same.

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