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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Charlotte Hadfield & Olivia Williams

Man, 21, never came home after celebrating birthday with friends

Tributes have flooded in for a young man who was stabbed to death while celebrating his 21st birthday with friends.

Sam Cook was murdered five years ago when he was stabbed in the heart by Carl Madigan, in Empire nightclub in Liverpool city centre, on October 21, 2017. He was celebrating his milestone birthday with friends when the tragedy struck.

The 21-year-old's mum Gill Radcliffe said it "feels like yesterday" since her son was killed. She said she still suffers flashbacks from that night.

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To mark the fifth anniversary of his death, Gill is asking people to light a candle in memory of Sam and all those who have lost their lives to knife and gun crime. Since publishing the story in memory of Sam, dozens of ECHO readers have paid tribute to the young man.

Writing on the ECHO's Facebook page, Pat Clinton said: "Happy heavenly birthday Sam." Carol Calpo added: "RIP lovely young man so sad thinking of all your family."

Clair Murphy also said: "It is heartbreaking that he never came home, my thoughts are with all your family. Rest in peace."

Gill, 56, told the ECHO: "It's five years but it just feels like yesterday really. It doesn't get any easier.

"This last year has been horrific. A little girl in her own home has been shot and killed, and I just think it's important that everyone takes a minute to remember the people we've lost.

"Take a minute out just to remember what happened to Sam and all the others. Adam Ellison's family - they haven't got justice. For me as a mum, I can't even switch on the news anymore because it brings so much back to me."

Gill said: "I always get messages from people when something does happen saying I'm thinking of you. There's so many fabulous people in this city with hearts of gold, it's only a minority that are spoiling it for the rest of us.

"Sam was a normal lad going out on his birthday and he never came home. So I think people who message think 'what if that was my child?' And rightly so because it was shocking what happened.

"We're all going to light a candle, it's a way of showing unity really. It's not making a stand but it's showing we all care."

Gill and her son, Sam (Family handout)

Carl Madigan was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years in June 2018 after being found guilty of Sam's murder. Sam's grandad David Radcliffe, 82, suffered a heart attack just 12 hours after a jury found his grandson's killer guilty.

Gill said Sam was very close to his grandad who "died of a broken heart." Gill said: "Sam was my only child. His dad has got two sons who we're so close to.

"He was just a normal hardworking lad. He worked as an electrician.

"He got his driving license and he had a car. He loved his nan, he loved his mum and his brothers, he was a very family orientated lad.

"He had a heart of gold. We're a close family even though Alan and I are split up."

Sam's friends and family visited his grave to mark his 26th birthday on Wednesday. They will visit the grave again this Friday and plan to go for a meal to celebrate his life.

Gill added: "It's hard obviously, it's really hard and Sam should be with us. We shouldn't be going to his grave.

"I can just be in a normal situation and I'll get flashbacks. I've been told I've got PTSD and that comes out in horrific dreams.

"His friends still see me and mum. They came out for his birthday and they're all going out on Friday. It just shows the type of person he was.

"People even now, five years later, come up to me and say 'I knew Sam' and say what a lovely lad he was."

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