When Kelly Brown answered her phone, she quickly realized it was a call no parent would ever want to receive. Her cheerful, beautiful boy Rhamero, 16, had been stabbed, the latest victim of the knife crime epidemic in Greater Manchester.
She and her sister jumped into their car, desperate for answers. When they arrived at what would be the scene of her son’s murder, Rhamero had already been taken into an ambulance by paramedics.
She was confronted with a horror scene, with flashing lights and a police cordon. Kelly shouted to the ambulance, screaming to be let in to see her son. But it drove off and lost in a race against time to try to save her youngest son.
READ MORE : Mother of murdered teen lashes out at killer, 17, for making a ‘cutthroat’ gesture at her in court while sentenced to life in prison
“At that moment I knew it wasn’t going to work out for Rhamero,” she recalls touchingly. Before she could make it to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Kelly received the news that would destroy her and her family’s lives forever.
“Kelly can you hear me?” Rhamero’s father told her down the line. “He’s gone,” she was told.
“I couldn’t breathe,” Kelly recalls. “I had a panic attack in the car. I ran into the hospital screaming for my son.”
She would never see her son alive again. “We have a feeling this is a nightmare and we will wake up, but unfortunately that is not the case,” she said.
The emotional turmoil of the loss of her beloved son was exposed when three young men convicted of Rhamero’s murder were given life sentences. Though she will never see her son again, Rhamero’s killers may receive a visit from their family in due course.
“All those involved in taking my son’s life will serve their time and justice will prevail,” Kelly said. “However, at this time we know that they can still have contact with family and will one day be released back into society.
“Their families will not suffer as we do. These people will still be able to set and achieve goals, raise a family, go on vacation and be around all those who love them. was robbed by Rhamero.”
Kelly told how her oldest son had to bury his brother the day before his birthday. She relies on sleeping and anxiety tablets and has had to give up her job.
She said: “People keep trying to say nice things to us, to help us accept that Rhamero is gone, but nobody will ever understand if they haven’t experienced it themselves. The sadness is unbearable, there is not a single day we are managed to get through without collapsing and crying.”
Often grief hits hardest for the little things in life. When she goes shopping, it proves difficult to see the things Rhamero liked to eat or drink.
The first Christmas without him was just as hard. Rhamero loved to decorate the tree. In his absence, the family put up decorations with his name on them instead of Christmas balls.
Kelly’s anxiety peaked when she had to endure a long-running crown court trial. To relive her son’s last moments in detail every day and hear shocking information about how her son died.
Seeing horrific images of him being chased through the streets. The video clips haunt her.
“Hearing and viewing the footage during this process really impressed me. My boy, who sounded so scared, who tried to get away not once, but twice, will forever be playing in my head when I close my eyes close.
“I am left with a broken heart, no son, anxiety, sleepless nights and panic attacks.” All the while, I had to watch Rhamero’s killers laugh and joke during the trial.
She said: “From start to finish during this trial, I have seen no remorse from any of the accused. You giggled and chuckled in the dock as if this is all a joke, a big game to you.
‘This is real life, you took my son. None of you have any respect for my family or even this courtroom.”
One of Rhamero’s killers, Marquis Richards, even made a “cutthroat” gesture at her after he was convicted. “All I can say is thank you for showing me your true nature,” Kelly told Richards.
Despite finding justice for her son, the agony for Kelly and her family will remain for the rest of their lives. As part of the Mero’s World initiative, she works tirelessly to raise awareness of knife crime and deter young people from arming.
She is raising money to help deliver first aid training and install bleeding safety cabinets in Greater Manchester, to provide instructions and equipment to help stop blood flow in the crucial time before paramedics arrive on the scene. And after her son’s killers were captured, Kelly’s message to young people was clear and distinct.
“Just don’t carry a knife. It’s like a ripple effect. You’re not just hitting victims, you’re affecting families, their friends, even in the community. Rhamero’s death has affected so many lives. It has to stop, enough is enough.
“Put the knives down.”
Ryan Cashin, 19, Giovanni Lawrence, 20 were given life sentences of 24 and 21 years respectively. The 17-year-old Marquis Richards was sentenced to the juvenile equivalent of life and imprisoned for at least 18 years. All three were convicted of murder.
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