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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Olimpia Zagnat

Nottinghamshire mum of murdered son wants to keep 'legacy alive'

The mum of a 22-year-old man who was fatally stabbed in the street has said her pain "will never go away". Zoe Cooke, of West Bridgford, said she still goes to her son's grave every morning while building a legacy in his name.

Byron Griffin, aged 22 and from East Leake, died from stab wounds in Ilkeston on Sunday, July 4, 2021. Jordan Fairbrother, Dylan Geary, Daniel Lewsley and Grant Masterson were all found guilty of his murder following a six-week trial at Derby Crown Court.

Ms Cooke is now working tirelessly to try to provide as many bleed kits as she can around Nottinghamshire, in the hope of saving lives through the vital pieces of equipment. She gave a heartfelt speech outside the Nottingham College on Canal Street where a new anti-bleed kit cabinet was installed on the wall on Monday, January 30 - along with a plaque dedicated to the memory of Byron.

READ MORE: Nottinghamshire detectives launch investigation after serious sexual assault on girl

More than £1,500 was raised by students at Nottingham College who decided to turn a 'local tragedy into a lasting legacy'.

A second cabinet will also be installed in Nottingham at a location yet to be determined. Ms Cooke was speaking at the event, adding: "Knife crime is a taboo subject. People do not like to talk about it.

"And when it is talked about, it is always a negative conversation, rather than a positive one. We should rather discuss the things that we can do to change something."

She has spoken out over the 'pain that will never go away', adding: "I still go to his grave every morning. Sometimes I have a moan, sometimes I stay there and just talk to him or laugh.

Zoe Cooke pictured with her late son Byron Griffin. (Zoe Cooke)

"Sometimes I think I am crazy speaking to him because people see me speaking to a piece of stone. The pain never goes away. But I do not want him to be forgotten, I want to keep his legacy alive.

"I have got that pain in my stomach all the time. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle, but we have got nothing else to do but try.

"I lost my best friend. He would never leave the house without saying 'I love you'. If one life can be saved with what I am doing, it means he did not die in vain."

Debbie Ball, a lead pastoral tutor at the Nottingham College, added: "You hear about incidents in the news, but Zoe's story was very personal. It was important for us to take on her story.

"She has become a role model for our students. It is about educating them about this.

(L-R) Debbie Ball, and students Jenson Shepherd, 18, Ned Doherty, 22. (Olimpia Zagnat)

"We do not have incidents in the school, but we have issues in our city. The students raised money and we've got two on-wall kits, one of which has been installed on the wall of the college.

"We've got six more portable kits. I am a mum and I have also been teaching students for 19 years. It is about the extra stuff that they can take on when they leave school."

Byron's legacy also has been displayed in The Nottingham Space, which is located in the National Justice Museum. It features accounts from families and friends of knife crime victims.

One young person, who visited the workshop, has voluntarily handed over a knife to the amnesty bin, said Gill Brailey from the National Justice Museum. Ms Brailey, Director of Learning at the museum added: "It gives people the real picture of what the families and friends of those who died feel like. It makes them understand that it is not just a young person who died - but someone who also had dreams, ambitions and passions."

Nigel Best, Police Careers Advisor at Nottinghamshire Police, added: "I work for the Youth Justice Service every Saturday. The youngest person we have ever had was 11 years old.

"The reality is that for them carrying a knife around is a normal thing.

"The people who carry knives, they all say that they have it on them for self-defence. This is not an issue just in Nottingham, it is a problem in every city. It is a national issue.

"I think that social media has an impact on that. They use Snapchat because the messages them are not permanent, they get deleted."


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