Mum’s plea: We must get to the roots of knife crime

Fresh calls for action on anniversaries of fatal stabbings

Friday, 28th January — By Anna Lamche


Shaquan Sammy-Plummer with mum Jessica. The Finsbury Park teenager was murdered at a party in 2015

FAMILIES who are this week marking painful anniversaries after losing loved ones to knife crime have appealed for fresh intervention that will stop others being put through the same nightmare.

Three Islington teenagers were victims of fatal stabbings in the last week of January over the past seven years.

Relatives spoke out as Arsenal continued their “No More Red” campaign aimed at confronting the causes of the violence, inviting those who had lost sons to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to hear what the Premier League football club are trying to do with new mentoring and places for sport.

Shaquan Sammy-Plummer, from Finsbury Park, was murdered at a party in Enfield on January 30 in 2015, Nedim Bilgin was stabbed in Caledonian Road on January 29 2019, and Romario Opia was killed on the Elthorne Estate in Archway on January 25 last year – stabbed to death with a “zombie” knife.

Shaquan and Nedim were both 17 when they died – Romario was just 15 years old.

“On Sunday, it will be seven years since my son got stabbed,” said Jessica Plummer, Shaquan’s mother and founder of the Shaquan Sammy-Plummer Foundation.

“It doesn’t stop, [time] doesn’t make you feel better. Since losing Shaquan… this thing has changed me.

Nedim Bilgin and Romario Opia

“I want to be the person I used to be, but that is so difficult. I still go out there, I still put on a brave face, I still smile. But inside I’m dying – it’s killing me inside to have to relive this pain every day.”

Ms Plummer has given talks to schoolchildren about the impact knife crime has on those left behind.

“It’s about sitting with them, listening to them and understanding. Remember: young people need somebody they can trust, because they don’t trust anyone,” she said.

“It’s about making a positive change in order for us to be able to get to the root of the problem. Even if I’ve got the foundation, I do not have the answer for knife crime. All I can do is give my input and work together in order for us to learn.”

She said she hoped her work would dissuade other children from getting involved in knife crime.

“Whatever I’m doing, I’m not doing it for myself,” she added. “I’m doing it because of the love I have for these young people.”

A member of the Love and Loss support group, Ms Plummer was among guests at the Emirates on Sunday, along with other members of parent support groups and Town Hall representatives.

Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Islington Council’s leader, who was also at the stadium, said: “We stand with our communities against knife crime and violence.

“Our number one priority is supporting our young people, keeping them safe and giving them the best possible start in life, and we fully support the No More Red campaign.

“I was humbled and honoured to see – and be part of – this important show of unity at the Emirates yesterday, alongside local people who have personal experience of the devastat­ing effects of knife crime and who have gone on to support other parents affected by it.”

She added: “Just like No More Red, our long-term work with Arsenal in the Community is about supporting young people’s belief in their own abilities, helping them to thrive and empowering them to shape their own, bright futures.

“We know that to tackle this issue in Islington, we must continue to work together as a community.”

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