The parents of a teenager stabbed to death in Oldham five and a half years ago have told how they’re still struggling to come to terms with their son’s tragic death.
Tommy Bilton, 19, died after being stabbed in the groin when violence broke out outside a house party on the Eldon Street estate in August 2015.
A number of people have been convicted of taking part in the violence that night, but no-one has been found guilty of killing Tommy.
Speaking to film-maker Louis Harding for his new documentary The War on Knife Crime, Tommy’s parents Mandy and John told how the pain ‘never goes away’.
Mandy said: “It doesn’t get any easier.
“This lad doesn’t know what he’s done to us.
“He stabbed my child once. He stabbed us a thousand times. We’ve got to live with it every day.
“All you want is just one more second with him, to hug him and kiss him.
“That’s all I ask for. I’d be happy then – just to hold him one more time.”
John added: “It just turns your life upside down. We don’t talk about it a lot between us.
“Even after five years you still don’t believe it.
“It hasn’t sunk into our brains yet. It’s hard to accept.”
Louis, from Failsworth, and his colleague Nyle Walker, spoke to several knife crime victims as part of the documentary and interviewed a number of people working to combat the problem.
Among them was former Rusholme Mandem gang leader Matthew Norford.
Matthew’s brother was fatally stabbed during a botched armed robbery in 2012, but he now uses his experiences to speak to teenagers about the dangers of knife crime and gang culture.
Louis, who turned to documentaries after losing his job as an aircraft dispatcher at Manchester Airport when the pandemic struck, says he made the film because he felt the problem of knife crime was being overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “We wanted to raise awareness of knife crime by speaking to the people who have been affected by it but also to try find some resolutions.
“What I found was that knife crime affects everybody, it’s not just young people from minority backgrounds.
“I feel that here now we’ve got a similar problem with knife crime as America does with gun control.
“The people trying to combat it do not get enough help and there’s not really enough awareness or enough being done to stop it.
“Until you speak to the families and victims it’s easy for it to be seen as just another statistic.”
The War on Knife Crime is available to watch on YouTube.