IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Unsolved knife murder victim’s mum asks: Can the police cope?

Michelle McPhillips' son JJ was killed in a stabbing last February but nobody has been convicted of the murder

09 November, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Michelle McPhillips, whose son JJ was stabbed to death last year

A GRIEVING mother who lost her son to knife crime has questioned whether Scotland Yard has enough resources to deal with the number of murders in the capital.

Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips, 28, was stabbed to death outside the Town Hall in February last year.

The Met announced a £20,000 reward for information that could lead them to his killers in September but no one has been convicted of the father-of-two’s death.

“I have so many questions around my son’s case,” said JJ’s mother, Michelle McPhillips, the popular landlady of the Green Man pub in Essex Road. “The resources aren’t there to investigate murders. I spoke to someone from the murder squad who said they used to investigate five murders a month. Now, it’s much higher and they haven’t been given extra funding or manpower, even with those extra murders.”

Five people have been stabbed to death in the capital during the past week, marking a bloody year with 119 homicide cases for the Met to investigate. This time last year there were 104 murders being investigated in London, which did not include the 12 deaths from acts of terrorism.

The case against a man charged with JJ’s murder collapsed after a facial mapping expert changed their mind shortly before a trial was scheduled to start in August.

Ms McPhillips said: “I’m not sure if his death was investigated as deeply as it should’ve been, because four days later most of the evidence is gone and those guilty could have come up with their stories together.” JJ was taken to hospital shortly after the stabbing but survived for four days before his life support machine was switched off.

Ms McPhillips said it was important for the community to “come together” to put an end to escalating violence on the streets. “It’s an epidemic,” she said. “We have to listen to our young people, that’s the key.”

JJ McPhillips

She believes the media has fuelled fear among young people about how much violence there is on the streets. “They feel they need to carry a knife but we must not believe that every young person is carrying a knife, because they are not,” said Ms McPhillips.

She said she was “devastated” by the death of her father, Samuel James Donaghey, earlier this week, adding: “He died of a broken heart. He told me to keep going to find who killed JJ.”

A new confidential phoneline – 020 7254 4732 – will be launched on Monday for young people to get advice on how to deal with issues around knife crime and to support bereaved parents. The number will be manned by bereaved parents including Grace Aloba whose son Isaiah was stabbed to death in 2015.

She said: “The new line, Isaiah’s Rainbow of Hope, is in memory of my son. I wanted to do something to help.”

A spokesman for the Met referred the Tribune to the Mayor of ­London’s Office, which controls the Met’s ­budget, for a comment.

A spokeswoman for Mayor of London’s Office said: “Thanks for flagging this to us, but resourcing is entirely operational so it would be the Met you need to speak to.”

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