The family of Thomas Gravestock, the victim of a brutal killing caused by a £20 drug debt, have spoken about the devastating impact his death has had on their family.
The 35-year-old - known as Tom Tom and Cockney Tom - had been an on and off guest in the Corby night shelter after finding himself homeless because of the grip of his drug addiction before he was brutally killed by Sean Doherty in Corby last summer.
But Tom’s family, speaking in moving victim impact statements read out by QC John Lloyd-Jones, talked about how he had been a ‘thoughtful and kind’ father of two young children.
His mum Patricia Kendrick said: “He struggled with addiction. When his addiction was bad he would take himself away from his family.”
Patricia said that at these times she would wait at home, longing to hear from her boy, and wondering if something awful had happened to him. But she never expected to hear the news ‘that no parent wants to receive’.
Mr Lloyd-Jones added: “She (Patricia) struggles to grasp that her son has gone forever.
“He had a good sense of humour and cracked jokes and would have a laugh.
“He loved big hugs.”
Patricia also told the court of the impact it had had on her own life. She had been left seeking solace in her own company at work for fear that someone would mention Tom or their own children.
The statement continued: “Her life has been turned upside-down.
“She feels broken and the enjoyment of her life has now gone.
“She doesn’t know how she’s going to move on.”
Richard Gravestock, Tom’s father, said that having to identify his son’s battered body was an ‘unimaginable task’
“The image of his face hunts him,” said Mr Lloyd-Jones.
“He’s experienced some very dark times.
“He’s contemplated taking his own life although he’s had the good sense and the support not to do so.”
The court heard how Mr Gravestock last spoke to his son a few days before the killing and they said that they loved each other.
The statement added: “Whatever the defendant has taken away from this family, he can’t take away the love they feel for each other.”
Tom’s partner, who didn’t wish to be named in open court, described breaking the news to her two children that their father was dead and the impact it had had on their ‘little world.’
The couple’s children, a boy aged six and a girl aged 10, had reacted differently to the killing.
Their son asks ‘never ending questions’ about his dad and their daughter ‘barely says a word about it.’
The court heard how her schoolwork has suffered.
Mr Lloyd-Jones added in the statement read to the court that: “She now feels huge responsibility.
“The happiness has gone from her family.
“She dreads having to relive these events when the children want to know more.”
Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking, on hearing the statements, said: “The victim personal statements are very moving.
“It’s clear there’s been a significant struggle for both of his parents.
“They will miss him and continue to miss him.”