Last week a man was sentenced for manslaughter having killed a young soldier in Cyprus following a bar brawl. Disappointingly Mohammed Abdulkadir Osman was only given 8 years for the manslaughter of David Lee Collins aged 18. David was stabbed to death after a fight broke out in a nightclub in the Ayia Napa resort of Cyprus, one day before he was due to fly out to Afghanistan to serve his country. A police search of Mr Osman’s hotel room found marijuana, two brass knuckles and 11 switch blades that the defendant said he had bought from a local store to take back home to give to friends.
The story is a tragic one and I really feel for David’s family who I know personally having been his Mum’s MP for the last eight years and prior to that her local Councillor. I’m sure his mum Lisa must have been on tenterhooks knowing he was flying out to Afghanistan and it was the last phone call she wanted to receive a day before he flew out.
When I first became an MP one of the first things I did was to get involved the first cross party Parliamentary Group whose sole aim was to tackle the issues around Child and Youth Crime and I was proud to be Chair of the Group for three years. Child and Youth Crime is a huge issue particularly in our large towns and cities like Manchester. We have made huge strides in tackling gang culture and youth crime but the work never stops.
19 year old Osman stated the 11 switch blades and two brass knuckles were for his friends in London. Even if this was the case, the fact that this teenager bought these weapons demonstrates there is so much more work to be done to tackle the issue.
David Lee Collins was a credit to his family and they have taken the brave decision to ensure he did not die in vain. Since his death, his mum Lisa has launched a North West campaign “Stop Knife Crime”. She has been visiting Schools around Manchester to tell her tragic story; you may have read about this in the South Manchester Reporter. This firsthand account will have a huge impact on pupils and will go a long way in helping young people stay on the right path in life.