Mother of murdered Christopher Allbury-Burridge calls for action to tackle knife and drug crime in Northampton and beyond
'How many more young men will die, or have their lives ruined from drugs and knives before change will happen?'
The mother of murder victim Christopher Allbury-Burridge has called on the authorities to do more to tackle knife and drug crime in Northampton and beyond.
Three men were found guilty of murdering the 33-year-old at his Kingsley home, while a fourth defendant was convicted of manslaughter, yesterday (Wednesday, September 22).
Mr Allbury-Burridge was fatally stabbed as the quartet tried to rob the cannabis he was growing in his house, the six-week at Northampton Crown Court trial heard.
Elaine Smith said: "Whilst Christopher was caught up in an illegal activity, he did not need to die so horrifically for it.
"This trial is about wasted lives, both Christopher’s, the lives of his attackers, and all of the devastated families involved in this tragedy.
"We want to call on the government for more help to be given to prevent young people from getting involved in the drugs industry, and to help reduce knife crime .
"How many more young men will die, or have their lives ruined from drugs and knives before change will happen?"
The convictions come as two boys and two men have been injured in knife attacks in Northampton since last Thursday (September 16), with police granted extra stop and search powers as a result.
Mrs Smith has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel, the Home Office, Northamptonshire MPs Michael Ellis, Peter Bone, Andrew Lewer and Philip Hollobone, and Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold over the issue.
She believes there needs to be better education around knife crime and drugs as well as more support systems for drug users to give it up.
Stop and search laws should be expanded to get more knives and drugs off the streets, she claims, and an end is needed to disposable mobile phones.
Mrs Smith also thinks more CCTV cameras are required so all criminals can be tracked to and from the site of their crime.
"My son was engaged in an illegal activity which cost him his life," she said.
"How many more young people are going to have their lives ruined by drugs and crime before tougher measures are put in place to stop this wave of destruction?
"I would rather be visiting my son in jail for a few years, than mourning his devastating loss.
"We had many discussions about the damaging effects of smoking cannabis, but he didn’t seem to be able to stop."
Calum Farquhar, Rakeem Leandre and Jordan Parker were found guilty of murdering the 33-year-old at his home in Kingsley by a Northampton Crown Court jury after more than 24 hours of deliberations.
Joel Cyrus was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter - all four were convicted of conspiracy to rob the victim of the cannabis plants he was growing.
Farquhar, 24, of Liverpool Road, Leyton, and Leandre, 26, of Brewers Court, Norwich, were also found guilty of having an article with a blade or point while Cyrus, 26, of Whitney Road, Leyton, was found not guilty - Parker, 25, of Chingford Road, Walthamstow, had already pleaded guilty.
Mrs Smith said Mr Allbury-Burridge's family is grateful 'some' of the people involved in his murder have been convicted but there are questions that remain unanswered.
The defendants refused to give police or tell the court vital information about who gave them the murder victim's address to rob him of the cannabis and who gave Parker the knife he used to stab him.
"The police have done a fantastic job, however these convicted men are just the foot soldiers, there are bigger players orchestrating a wave of terror in our country," she said.
"These men admitted to being parts of different gangs, who make a living stealing and threatening cannabis growers, knowing that the crime will not be reported."
Mrs Smith thanked the many police officers involved in the investigation, especially Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield and liaison officer Jo Davis.
As well as those who undertook the initial, 'painstaking' gathering of evidence and forensic details which secured the convictions, she added.
The mother also thanked the jurors 'for their time and patience and hard work when considering their verdicts' and prosecutor James House QC 'for his thorough attention to detail'.
"These men will never understand the pain and devastating loss that they have caused the loved ones of Christopher because of their actions that night," she said.
"We have lost not only our beloved Chris, but we have also lost our future with him.
"We will have no more Happy Birthdays, Christmases, and the chance of seeing him happy with his new partner and family.
"No justice or time will ever bring any of us closure, Chris will be in our dreams and nightmares for the rest of our lives. That is the legacy they have left us with."