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'This is a real problem': Teenage stabbings in Bristol no longer a surprise for local church

by Lydia Davies
Darrien Williams.png - Banner image

A Bristol pastor who has dealt with the impact of knife crime first-hand  has told Premier the latest stabbing of a teenager "wasn't a surprise".

Stephen McEwen, lead pastor of E5 Church in Bristol, said he had conducted the funerals of past knife crime victims in the area whom he knew personally.

"[I conducted] the funeral of Takeo Nimbad back in 2022. And then last summer, Eddie Kanuthia last August," he said. 

"He was a young man that came to our church…we had to conduct the funeral and minister to the family, so we've also seen an event there at McDonald's with a 16-year-old being stabbed. And again this week. So it's just…sad, but it's not surprising because this is a real problem".

His remarks come as Darrien Williams, a teenage boy, was stabbed to death by two masked men in Bristol on Wednesday.

The attack occurred in the afternoon, and despite the victim's attempt to seek help, the 16-year-old collapsed and died at the scene on West Street, Old Market.

Pastor Stephen thinks there are "so many layers" to the rise in youth-led knife crime. "It's right down to families, broken homes and young people without fathers. There's a lot of fear. So young people feel compelled to carry knives."

However, he believes that churches and youth groups have a large part to play in the reduction of youth violence.

"I think primarily preaching the gospel, of course, youth provision…do youth clubs and create safe spaces, we've created spaces where young people can get counselling, these things are important.

"But primarily, the Church is there to preach the Gospel, and I think that young people hearing that with clarity and in a relevant way is so important in an age where they're being bombarded with so much negativity and darkness," he added.

A new police initiative addressing youth violence is underway in Avon and Somerset. Senior Investigating Officer Det Insp Neil Meade emphasised their continuous efforts to uncover the details surrounding Darrien's death, urging anyone with information to come forward. 

In collaboration with headteachers, the police are planning additional patrols near schools and deploying a mobile police station to enhance support and reassurance for students returning after the half-term break.

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