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£20k reward in hunt for Jonathan “JJ” McPhillips killers

Grieving mother pleads for witnesses to come forward

28 September, 2018 — By Emily Finch

JJ’s grandmother Sarah Gould and mother Michelle McPhillips 

 

A mother who lost her son to knife crime more than a year-and-a-half ago has said “she will never give up hope” of seeing the killers locked up as police announce a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips was fatally stabbed outside the Town Hall in Upper Street in Feb- ruary 2017. No one has been convicted over the death of the 28-year-old.

The case against a 21-year-old man charged with JJ’s murder was dropped last month due to insufficient evidence.

Speaking at New Scotland Yard yesterday (Thursday), JJ’s mother Michelle McPhillips said: “I am hopeful this reward will bring for- ward some new information. For me, the reward means the police are still active in this case and are not going to give up.”

She added: “My life will never get easier. I’m still back at that moment when I received a phone call to say JJ was stabbed. My life has stayed there. I want people to look deep within themselves and come forward [with information].” In a statement, Ms McPhillips said police had done “everything they can so far to help us get justice”, but added: “They have not been helped by the people who know who did it, who have protected Jonathon’s murderers by refusing to speak.”

She said: “People often speak of a wall of silence where a police investigation like this meets an impasse, but in my heart of hearts I will never give up hope that someone who does have a key piece of information will do the right thing.

“If you are that person and you are reading this now, then I want you to know that I don’t want revenge. All I want is justice for my only son.”

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, who is leading the murder investigation, said anyone with information should have “faith in the police” to protect them and come forward.

He said: “Trust us. We do a good job around these types of things and treat it very, very seriously. We will minimise the risk to you.

“If what they [the witness] have seen is important we put various things in place to protect them. That can be from alarms around their addresses and cameras to moving them outside the area.”

Asked whether his investigation could be called a success with no one convicted of the crime 19 months on, he said: “Police investigating this matter are doing everything they can and I am confident in them. The investigation gets reviewed by independent officers who go through it to see if anything has been missed. They are happy with it.”

The father-of-two died in an east London hospital three days after being stabbed in Upper Street on February 25 last year. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as a single stab wound to the chest.

Jonathon’s partner Kennedy said: “The day that Jonathon died affected his families’ lives forever, not least his daughters, who are now three and five years old. Try as we might to protect them from what has happened, their lives will be poorer without the love and devotion of their dad as they grow up.”

Scotland Yard has re- released CCTV of the moments before and after the stabbing which shows JJ colliding with a smartly dressed man as he tries to escape from the melee.

DCI Whellams said they are still looking to speak to the man who is a “significant witness”.

The clip shows six to eight hooded youths, some holding large knives, grouping in Richmond Grove before running towards and attacking a group of men JJ was with. Anyone with information is urged to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3775 or, to give information anonymously, call Crime- stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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