Fatal stabbing victim’s mum’s heartfelt appeal – ‘help me ensure my son’s death is not in vain’

The mum of Dylan Keelan is appealing to members of the public, particularly parents and carers, to help her ensure her son’s death is not in vain – by supporting the fight against knife crime.

Nicola’s 20-year-old son was fatally stabbed in Dukinfield, Tameside on Friday 4 February 2022.

Dylan’s death followed the fatal stabbings of 16-year-old Kennie Carter in Trafford on Saturday 22 January 2022 and 17-year-old Alan Szelugowski in Salford on Sunday 30 January 2022.

Last Friday (11 March 2022), 18-year-old Abdikarm Abdalla Ahmed was fatally stabbed in Bury.

Nicola is asking parents and carers to have conversations with the young people in their lives and, if necessary, help them safely surrender weapons in their possession or report it to services.

She said: “My son, Dylan, was a lovely, kind and respectful boy who always had a cheeky smile on his face. He loved his family and his close friends and we all loved him. Dylan and his mates wanted to go on a lads holiday to celebrate their 21sts. I was looking forward to watching him grow up – get married and have kids.

“I am broken and distraught. But Dylan always put me first so I’m putting him first. In his words – ‘Always find a way to turn a negative into a positive’. If this saves one life, he would want it. So, today, I am appealing to mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents, teachers – anyone who cares about a kid or the safety of the streets which they walk. Since Dylan died, I’ve received so much support but, this afternoon, I ask you to help me ensure my son’s death is not in vain.

“If you know or suspect your kid or any kid you care about is carrying a weapon, please do something before it’s too late: Have a conversation with them; help them surrender it; or report it. Doing something might seem hard but it could save a family heartbreak like mine. Look at my life, look at what could happen – everything changes overnight.

GMP Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson, portfolio holder for serious crime and public protection, said: “I would like to start by sending my condolences to the loved ones of the four young men who have been fatally stabbed in our region this year, and others affected by violent crime.

“I echo Nicola’s sentiments entirely and can assure parents, carers and anyone else who is concerned that fighting, preventing and reducing the use of weapons is one of GMP’s highest priorities and that, across the force, police officers and staff are proactively working to keep people safe in a number of ways, such as: working with partner agencies and communities; continuing our Forever Knife Amnesty; and stop searching.

“These examples should go some way to build public trust and confidence that GMP will not tolerate the threat, harm and risk weapons pose to our communities and officers are working hard to remove them from our streets whilst ensuring those responsible for carrying and/ or using them face justice.”

As part of the continued fight against knife crime across Greater Manchester, the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit recently launched the #SpeakingOutCouldSaveALife anti-violence campaign. The campaign encourages friends, family members and teachers to speak out if they are concerned about a young person and features a youth worker, teacher, young person and community worker sharing the clear message that speaking out could save a life.

We all have a part to play when it comes to tackling knife crime and serious youth violence. Family members, friends and teachers all have an important influence on a young person, and can have a powerful effect. It might be a difficult conversation, but talking about knife carrying is the way to finding a solution and saving lives. Find out more below:

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