The statistics are shocking. A knife crime takes place somewhere in England and Wales every 16 minutes, with 37,443 incidents reported last year. In 2017, offences across the country increased by over 20 per cent, and this year murders in London are up 44 per cent. The number, increasing every week, stands at 62 at the time of writing. Every story of another young person killed brings back painful memories for Mark Prince, which he shares here, with his hopes that others will be spared the devastation he went through.
I started staying in Kiyan’s room all the time. His bedroom became my bedroom. I just needed to be near him. I used to get up and want to see him, hear him, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
I could smell him though. I’d go to his clothes and inhale hard every last ounce of his smell that each fibre had to offer. Again and again. If I wasn’t smelling his clothes, I’d be wearing them. Even when we went to his school a few days later to see where he’d been killed, I was wearing an Ecko basketball top that I’d bought him, which he loved. It was one of his favourite jackets. I’ve still got that top.
When I saw the newspaper a few days later with me wearing his clothes, I broke down in tears and at the same time thought, “Kiyan would have been laughing at his dad wearing some clothes that weren’t even fitting him properly.” But I didn’t care. It was his stuff and I had it on. And when it came to sleep, that was a luxury I’d taken for granted before. I had so many things and thoughts running through my head, there was no way I could rest. “What actually happened on the day? I know Kiyan can defend it,” as we say on the roads. “So how did this guy just stab my son like this?”
When I did manage to close my eyes, all I had were vivid dreams of Kiyan
As the days went on, it got worse. The shock was starting to set in and I hadn’t even begun to tap into the reservoir of water to be released out of my eyeballs. Tears just poured out of me. When I did manage to close my eyes, all I had were vivid dreams of Kiyan. Then when I woke up from a couple of hours of delirious napping, I’d often be crying because Kiyan was so alive in those dreams. Every time I woke up, it was a reminder he was dead.
Any parent could be joining in my pain; any child could be joining my son at the cemetery. I do not want any more parents to suffer this terrible tragedy, and make the terrible mistake of thinking this couldn’t happen to me as they watch the news, because their child is not in that area, not involved and has a great future ahead. This could happen to any parent in Britain, regardless of culture, background, class and this could happen to any child regardless of behaviour and reputation.
As a father I have taken full responsibility for supporting all youth and teaching them a better way. It has been a difficult process to say the least but I am fully committed and will continue my work, training, educating and creating opportunities for young people who are involved in, encourage or glamorise this type of mindset. I also want to warn parents to take more time out with their children, and to not allow the modern digital world to raise them. Spend precious time with them and focus on their development.
Prince Harry got married the day after the anniversary of Kiyan’s death, my young Prince sadly will have no wedding.