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Grieving mum: Schools snubbed my knife crime plea

Mother of murdered teenager tells public meeting how she offered to reveal devastating impact of her son’s murder

15 June, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Jessica Plummer says life is ‘so difficult’ since the death of her son Shaquan

THE mother of a murdered teenager wants to be allowed into Islington schools to give children a first-hand account of the devastating impact of knife crime.

Jessica Plummer, whose 17-year-old son Shaquan Sammy-Plummer died three years ago after being stabbed, believes she can help but nobody has so far taken up her offer.

She spoke out at a public meeting on the Andover estate, in Finsbury Park, where another young man, Kwasi Anim-Boadu, was stabbed to death in April.

The estate, off Seven Sisters Road, was also where 21-year-old Andrew Jaipaul was brutally stabbed to death in 2011.

Speaking to the Tribune afterwards, Ms Plummer, of Parkview Crescent, Finsbury Park, said: “I don’t want nobody to give me no trophy. All I want is to help the parents, to help the children.”

She set up the Shaquan Sammy-Plummer Foundation in his memory to help steer youngsters away from violence.

Shaquan, who was studying for his A-levels when he died, would have been graduating from university this year.

Ms Plummer told the meeting she had struggled to get into Islington classrooms to speak after approaching four schools. She had also spoken to police but said no one had taken up her offer.

Shaquan Sammy-Plummer died three years ago after being stabbed

“The way I look at it there are so many different organisations out there, I’m not saying they are not focused on what is happening, but we all need to come together to try and work to get to the root of this problem,” she said.

“Engage more with children, engage more with parents and get into more schools.”

After failing to make progress in Islington, she went to Harrow, where police enabled her to speak to pupils at secondary schools, often reducing teachers and children to tears with her story.

“By me talking to the children, they listen. If a penny was to drop inside the room, you would hear it,” she said. “They go quiet, they show a lot of compassion.”

Jemal Williams, of Berkeley Gardens in Enfield, was given a life sentence in 2016, with a minimum of 24 years behind bars, for stabbing Shaquan in the chest.

The attack happened after Williams refused the teenager entry to a party in Enfield.

The killing has had a profound effect on Ms Plummer, who has another daughter and son. She now suffers from depression.

“It’s so difficult,” she said. “Sometimes I will leave the house and go down the road and reach the bus stop. I will turn my back and say: ‘You know what: I can’t get on the bus because it’s just too much for me.’”

At the meeting on Wednesday night, Finsbury Park ward councillor Asima Shaikh pledged to meet and help Ms Plummer.

She said: “What I’m hearing is that you’re not being heard. We want to listen to you. We can meet up and talk more about the activities you’ve been engaged with and connect you to various people in the council.”

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